Great Horned Owl

Bubo virginianus

Great Horned Owls can swivel their heads more than 270 degrees to look in any direction.

Characteristics: The great horned owl has large tufts of feathers on its head. It has large eyes and brown white, gray, and black markings that look like the bark of a tree. These markings help camouflage it in the woods. It has a wing span of over four feet and it is about two feet in height.
Lifespan: The oldest known wild Great Horned Owl was 28 years old, but in captivity they can live more than 50 years.

Habitat: The great horned owl lives in woodlands, along cliffs and canyons and at the edge of forests.

Range: The great horned owl has a very large range. It can be found in the forests of North, Central and South America.

Diet: The great horned owl is nocturnal. It hunts small mammals like mice, rabbits, squirrels and skunks. It also eats birds like ducks and quail. It regurgitates or throws up the undigested parts, like bones and fur, in owl pellets. You can often tell what an owl has eaten by looking at these pellets.

Behavior: The great horned owl has very good eyesight and excellent hearing that help it hunt at night. Its loosely-packed feathers make it almost silent when it flies which makes it easier to sneak up on its prey.

Keeper Notes: Linda and Jerry hatched in 2012 as nest mates. They hatched in the wild but were raised by a wildlife rehabilitator. After determining the young owls were too used to humans and could not fly well enough to be released back into the wild, they were permanent placed at the zoo by the Wisconsin DNR. The owls are fed 6-8 mice, daily, and are occasionally fed pheasants, rabbits and quail chicks.

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