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Great horned owl (Bubo virginianus)

Great horned owl
Great horned owl

Personal Information
Bob-Lee and Lee-Bob are the Zoo's two male great horned owls, acquired in 2006 and 2007. Both of them were wing injured in the wild and sustained permanent wing and eye damage. They have adapted quite well to life at the Zoo and very much enjoy having their food delivered to them daily.

Status in the Wild
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List status: Least concern. It is estimated that there are more than five million in the wild.

Habitat
Great horned owls live throughout North America and in Central and South America. They live in a wide variety of habitats, ranging from Arctic to Equatorial. Their habitat includes forests, tropical rainforests, mountainous areas, deserts, rocky coasts, and some urban park areas.

Diet
Great horned owls are carnivores. As birds of prey, they hunt rodents and small mammals. They will also eat small owls, waterfowl and other birds. They also eat fish, snakes, frogs, toads and turtles.

  • An owl’s eyes are fixed in position by a special circular bone that keeps them immobile in the socket. To observe its surroundings, the owl can swivel its neck up to 270 degrees to see in other directions without moving its body. This is an adaptation to compensate for the fact that they cannot move their eyeballs.
  • Great horned owls have exceptionally good hearing. They hear in stereo due to the fact that its right ear is slightly above its left. The owl can coordinate the angles and distances from the source of the sound and pinpoint it quickly using this special hearing.
  • These birds have 500 pounds per square inch of crushing power with their talons compared to 60 pounds per square inch in a human’s palm.