You Are At: AllSands Home > Science > Animals > How to identify a great horned owl
The fierce looking Great Horned Owl, which is also known as the long eared owl or Tufted Owl, is a very large eared owl with heavily barred underparts. The female is slightly larger than the male with both sporting a rusty colored face with yellow eyes. This beautiful creature is white throated with back and tail mottled grayish buff and dark brown. The legs and toes of the Great Horned Owl are covered in light brown feathers. The bird got its name from the two tufted ears which can be raised at will.
Known to inhabit woodland, forest, open country, caves and towns, this owl is predominantly nocturnal. During the day the Great Horned Owl will perch in a tree with its body pressed tightly against the trunk to help conceal itself. Due to its habit of preying on smaller birds, if this bird is detected by smaller birds during the day, he will be mobbed furiously by them. Although the Great Horned owl is large enough to take even sizable mammals and birds, their diet usually consist of vermin, small birds and insects.
This is one of the quieter birds of the owl family. In flight it is typically silent and its calls or cries are infrequent, usually a plaintive, wavering note or mewing that is somewhat protracted. In anger or during mating the Great Horned Owl is known to sometimes clap his wings making a sharp cracking sound and occasionally bark.
The nest of this bird will, in most cases, be the deserted nest of other birds such as the jay, magpie, crow, sparrow hawk or wood pigeon. Occasionally an old squirrel's nest is used or the eggs will be laid directly on the ground. The female will lay four to six white eggs.
The Great Horned tends to be more migratory than other owls, moving freely during the autumn months. The fierce attitude of this bird has been the cause of the creation of many superstitions and legends concerning it mighty and magical abilities.