Great Horned Owl: Up close picture of the eye of the owl

Great horned owl - The eye of the Owl

The Great Horned Owl was first seen in the Virginia colonies, so its species name was created from the Latinised form of the name of this territory (originally named for Queen Elizabeth I, the "Virgin Queen"). Great Horned Owl is sometimes known as Hoot Owl, Cat Owl or Winged Tiger.

Great Horned Owls can vary in color from a reddish brown to a grey or black and white. The horned owl underside is a light grey with dark bars and a white band of feathers on the upper breast. Horned owls have large, staring yellow-orange eyes, bordered in most races by an orange-buff facial disc.

Why 'horned' owl? The name is derived from tufts of feathers that appear to be "horns" which are sometimes referred to as "ear tufts" but have nothing to do with hearing at all. The large feet are feathered to the ends of the toes, and the immature birds resemble the adults. Females are 10 to 20% larger than males.

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