The official website of the Elkhorn Slough Foundation and Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve
Elkhorn Slough Birds: Great Horned Owl

Scientific Name:
Bubo virginianus


Found at the Slough:

Season(s) seen:

Did you know...
Great horned owls are the only animal that regularly eats skunks.

The Great Horned Owl is one of the most common and widespread owls in North America, being found from the Arctic Tundra, to the arid desert, to tropical forests to urban settings. Their name comes from the tufts of feathers on their heads or "horns" which are sometimes referred to as "ear tufts" but have nothing to do with hearing at all.

Great Horned Owls commonly eat other birds including other owls, osprey, American crows as well as mammals and occasionaly reptiles and amphibians.

These owls are about 2 feet tall. Famales are larger than their male counterparts, but males have a deeper voice (or call).


In 2013 our researchers located and monitored the Great Horned Owl nest seen in this video:

More videos:

Here is a sequence of photos showing how quickly chicks grow and change:


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This site is maintained by the Elkhorn Slough Foundation in partnership with the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve