Great Horned Owls Are a Real Hoot

We don’t often think of birds as predators, but the great horned owl is a strong hunter, able to take down animals even bigger than itself in pursuit of a meal.

Great horned owl (Photo courtesy of Paul Dacko)

These owls are the ones we read about in storybooks, with the well-known hooting call. They most often call out to other owls at dusk and dawn.


Here are some other interesting facts about great horned owls.


Fun Facts

  • Great horned owls don’t actually have horns. They are named for the horn-like tufts on both sides of their heads, but these are feathers and not horns.

  • Great horned owls are nocturnal, which means they are active at night and sleep during the day. They have excellent vision and hearing, which makes it easier for them to find food in the dark.

  • Owls are birds of prey, or raptors, which means they hunt other animals for food. They eat mammals such as opossums, rabbits, rats and mice, plus snakes, frogs, lizards, insects and even other birds.

  • Owls cannot move their eyes in their sockets from side to side. To help them see their surroundings better, they can rotate their heads as much as 270 degrees in either direction. They cannot, as is sometimes thought, turn their heads all the way around.

  • Female great horned owls are bigger than the males.