Description of the Great Gray Owl

BREEDING MALE

The Great Gray Owl is a large, brownish-gray owl with a black and white “bow tie” pattern on its neck and large, black-barred facial disks around its yellow eyes.

 

Great Gray Owl

Female

Sexes similar.

Seasonal change in appearance

None.

Juvenile

Similar to adults but with darker facial disks.

Habitat

Coniferous forests.

Diet

Small mammals.

Behavior

Forages by watching and listening from a perch, then swooping down to capture prey.

Range

Resident across much of Canada and the northwestern U.S.

More information:

Bent Life History

Visit the Bent Life History for extensive additional information on the Great Gray Owl.

Fun Facts

Great Gray Owls can hear small mammals moving beneath the snow, and capture them by plunging in feet first.

Great Gray Owls usually roost near tree trunks, which helps camouflage their shape.

Vocalizations

A series of deep “whoos” is given.

Nesting

The nest is usually an abandoned nest of another large bird.

Number: 2-5.
Color: White.


Incubation and fledging:
- Young hatch at 28-36 days.  
- Young fledge (leave the nest) 3-6 weeks after hatching but remain with the adults for some time.