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Great Grey Owl

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Great Grey Owl
Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
Missing image
GreyOwl2005.jpg
Great Grey Owl


Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Strigiformes
Family:Strigidae
Genus:Strix
Species:S. nebulosa
Binomial name
Strix nebulosa
Forster, 1772

The Great Grey Owl (Strix nebulosa) is a very large owl.

Size: Length 61-84cm (24-33") average 72cm (28") for females, 69cm (27") for males. Wingspan up to 152cm (60") average 142cm (56") for female, 140cm (55") for males. Weight 790-1454g (28-51oz) average 1,390g (49oz) for females, 1,290g (45½oz) for males.

Adults have a round head with a grey face and yellow eyes with darker circles around them. The underparts are light with dark streaks; the upper parts are grey with pale bars. This owl does not have ear tufts.

Their breeding habitat is dense coniferous forest near open areas or bogs. They usually take over an old nest previously used by another large bird, such as a raptor. Four eggs is the usual clutch.

They breed in North America from Lake Superior to the Pacific coast and Alaska, and from Scandinavia across northern Asia. They are permanent residents, but may move south and southeast when food is scarce.

These birds wait, listen and watch for prey, then swoop down; they also may fly low through open areas in search of prey. They mainly eat small mammals -with voles being their most important food source - sometimes small birds. On the nesting grounds, they mainly hunt at night and near dawn and dusk; at other times, they may be active day or night. They have excellent hearing and may capture prey moving beneath the snow. Their large facial disks focus sound and the asymmetrical placement of their ears assist them in locating prey.

Captive birds have been know to live as long as 40 years. Mortality in the wild is mostly due to starvation. These birds have no fear of vehicles, henceforth are often victims of collisions when they venture into populated areas seeking food.

The call is a series of deep whoos.

This is the provincial bird for the province of Manitoba.da:Lapugle de:Bartkauz fr:Chouette lapone lt:Laplandinė pelėda pl:Sowa mszarna fi:Lapinpöllö

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