Great Horned Owl Trivia

Great Horned Owl

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Which sex of great horned owl hoots the most?
Male
Even in the mating season, females do not seem as vociferous as the males.
Female

There is a high percentage of infertility in great horned owl eggs.
False
There is a low percentage of infertility in great horned owl eggs. There are records of great horned owl egg sets that were partially or completely infertile but in most cases all of the eggs hatch.
True

What is the great horned owl’s favorite prey?
Skunk
A great horned owl was known to have struck the claws of both feet into the back of a large collie dog (Canis lupus familiaris), perhaps misled by a white patch on the dog as the white on the back of a skunk, its favorite mark.
Mouse
Opossum
Small Birds

Where do great horned owls nest?
Trees
Great horned owls nest in almost every type of situation in which birds nest, including trees, caves, bushes, and even cactus.
Caves
Great horned owls nest in almost every type of situation in which birds nest, including trees, caves, bushes, and even cactus.
Bushes
Great horned owls nest in almost every type of situation in which birds nest, including trees, caves, bushes, and even cactus.
Cactus
Great horned owls nest in almost every type of situation in which birds nest, including trees, caves, bushes, and even cactus.

The great horned owl can take down prey larger than itself.
True
The great horned owl’s speed, weight, and muscular power all combine to give the bird the force to overcome animals many times its own weight.
False

What habitats do great horned owls inhabit?
Forest
Great horned owls are most commonly found in interspersed areas of woodland and open fields. Their habitats include forest, savanna, shrubland, rocky areas, deserts, swamps, marshes, mangroves, and both rural and urban human settlements.
Savanna
Great horned owls are most commonly found in interspersed areas of woodland and open fields. Their habitats include forest, savanna, shrubland, rocky areas, deserts, swamps, marshes, mangroves, and both rural and urban human settlements.
Desert
Great horned owls are most commonly found in interspersed areas of woodland and open fields. Their habitats include forest, savanna, shrubland, rocky areas, deserts, swamps, marshes, mangroves, and both rural and urban human settlements.
Grassland

The great horned owl nests in more situations than any other North American bird.
True
Great horned owls nest in almost every type of situation in which birds nest, a range of variation unequalled by any other North American bird.
False

Great horned owls keep feeding roosts, to which they bring prey to be eaten.
True
The great horned owl, like some other birds of prey, often has a regular feeding roost, to which it brings its prey to be torn up and devoured.
False

What is the primary function of the great horned owl’s hoot?
Mate Attraction
The most important function of great horned owl hooting is to attract a mate.
Prey Attraction
Competition
Territory Defense

How many eggs does a great horned owl lay on average?
2
The usual number of eggs for the great horned owl is two.
1
4
6

Great horned owls can hear and localize the slightest sound.
True
Not only is it possible for them to hear the slightest sound, but they can readily localize it.
False

Great horned owls have been domesticated.
False
Great horned owls have yet to be tamed and seldom make satisfactory pets.
True

What is the great horned owl’s diet?
Carnivorous
The great horned owl is carnivorous and feeds on small mammals, such as mice and rats and birds.
Unknown
Herbivorous
Omnivorous

The great horned owl is the largest of owls.
False
The Blakiston’s fish owl (Bubo Blakisonti) is the world’s largest owl.
True

The great horned owls toes and talons can lock in place.
True
When the great horned owl settles down on a limb, its toes and talons lock round it and hold the bird firmly.
False

What vocalizations do great horned owls make?
Hoots
Great horned owl calls are divided into three main categories: hoots, chitters, and squawks.
Squawks
Great horned owl calls are divided into three main categories: hoots, chitters, and squawks.
Chitters
Great horned owl calls are divided into three main categories: hoots, chitters, and squawks.
Alarm Calls

Which continents does the great horned owl inhabit?
North America
The great horned owl can be found throughout the timbered regions of North, Central, and South America, from the Arctic regions in the North, to the Straits of Magellan in the South.
South America
The great horned owl can be found throughout the timbered regions of North, Central, and South America, from the Arctic regions in the North, to the Straits of Magellan in the South.
Europe
Asia

The great horned owl is the most un-tamable of all New England birds.
True
This fowl is the most morose, savage, saturnine, and untamable of all New England birds.
False

The great horned owl is the largest of the resident United States owls.
True
The great horned owl is the largest of the common resident owls of the United States.
False

Some of the great horned owl’s prey is swallowed whole.
True
Prey birds are plucked, but small mammals are swallowed whole, head first.
False

How far can a great horned owl rotate its head?
180°
The ability of great horned owls to revolve their heads through 180° is frequently used to advantage.
90°
360°
270°

Great horned owls prefer larger nests.
True
Observations in the Ithaca region suggest that when there are several satisfactory nests in a territory the great horned owl will choose a larger nest.
False

What is the great horned owl’s greatest natural enemy?
American Crow
The great horned owl is the most deadly enemy of the American crow, taking old and young from their nests at night and killing many at their winter roosts.
Bald Eagle
Osprey
Blue Jay

What is the great horned owl’s favorite part of its prey to eat?
Brain
The great horned owl’s favorite part of its prey to eat is the brains.
Liver
Intestines
Heart

The great horned owl is one of the first North American birds to nest in the spring.
True
Of the North American species, great horned owls are one of the first to nest in the spring.
False

What is the great horned owl’s movement pattern?
Full Migrant
Great horned owls are assessed as “full migrants” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).
Altitudinal Migrant
Not a Migrant
Nomadic

What system does the great horned owl inhabit?
Aerial/Arboreal
Great horned owls inhabit aerial/arboreal systems.
Fossorial
Terrestrial
Aquatic

Great horned owls fly silently.
True
The silent flight of the great horned owl is powerful, swift, skillful, and graceful.
False

Great horned owls have an excellent sense of smell.
False
Some great horned owls have been noted to dislike putrid meats, but only rejecting it after tasting it, proving their lack of olfactory senses.
True

What are the great horned owl’s feathered ear tufts called?
Plumicorns
The great horned owl’s tufts, or plumicorns, are not the owl’s ears, but rather clumps of feathers found on the heads of some owls and not on others.
Plastrons
Ossicones
Scutes

There is sexual dimorphism in the body size of the great horned owl.
True, females are larger.
Females are much larger than males. Females weigh about 50% more than males with males weighing about 1.3-1.7 kilograms, or 3-3.8 pounds and females weighing up to 2.2 kilograms, or 4.8 pounds.
True, males are larger.
False.

What is the great horned owl’s scientific name?
Bubo virginianus
The great horned owl’s scientific name is Bubo virginianus.
Didelphis virginiana
Tyto alba
Bubo bubo

What is the great horned owl’s mating system?
Monogamous
Great horned owls maintain a monogamous mating system.
Polyandrous
Polygynous
Polygynandrous

What is the great horned owl’s form of locomotion?
Digitigrade
The great horned owl has a digitigrade form of locomotion.
Plantigrade
Unguligrade
Other

Great horned owls lay more eggs when food is more available.
True
There may be a direct correlation between the number of great horned owl eggs and the abundance of food.
False

What color attracts the great horned owl and brings on attacks?
White
Any white moving object is likely to attract the attention of the great horned owl and bring on an attack.
Black
Red
Blue

With what do great horned owls line their nests?
Bark
From an examination of their nests, it is evident that great horned owls clear out a certain amount of debris before the eggs are laid, and usually line it with a more or less complete layer of consisting of shreds of bark, leaves, or down plucked from the breast feathers of the incubating bird. Near Indian Head, Saskatchewan, the birds occasionally build rabbit fur into their nests before the eggs are laid.
Feathers
From an examination of their nests, it is evident that great horned owls clear out a certain amount of debris before the eggs are laid, and usually line it with a more or less complete layer of consisting of shreds of bark, leaves, or down plucked from the breast feathers of the incubating bird. Near Indian Head, Saskatchewan, the birds occasionally build rabbit fur into their nests before the eggs are laid.
Leaves
From an examination of their nests, it is evident that great horned owls clear out a certain amount of debris before the eggs are laid, and usually line it with a more or less complete layer of consisting of shreds of bark, leaves, or down plucked from the breast feathers of the incubating bird. Near Indian Head, Saskatchewan, the birds occasionally build rabbit fur into their nests before the eggs are laid.
Fur
From an examination of their nests, it is evident that great horned owls clear out a certain amount of debris before the eggs are laid, and usually line it with a more or less complete layer of consisting of shreds of bark, leaves, or down plucked from the breast feathers of the incubating bird. Near Indian Head, Saskatchewan, the birds occasionally build rabbit fur into their nests before the eggs are laid.

What color is the great horned owl’s eyes?
Yellow
The great horned owl has yellow eyes.
Orange
Brown
Red

Female great horned owls usually only hoot during mating season.
True
The hoots of female horned owls are not usually identified at any time except the mating and nesting period and there is doubt if they do much calling at other seasons.
False

Great horned owls will build their nests in abandoned dens of which animals?
Coyote
Great horned owls will nest in badger and coyote dens in the ground and old squirrel and crow nests.
Crow
Great horned owls will nest in badger and coyote dens in the ground and old squirrel and crow nests.
Squirrel
Great horned owls will nest in badger and coyote dens in the ground and old squirrel and crow nests.
Badger
Great horned owls will nest in badger and coyote dens in the ground and old squirrel and crow nests.

What do great horned owls use as feeding roosts?
Old Nests
This may be an old, unoccupied nest, a wide, flat branch of a tree, the hollowed top of a stump, or a hollow place on a fallen log.
Logs
This may be an old, unoccupied nest, a wide, flat branch of a tree, the hollowed top of a stump, or a hollow place on a fallen log.
Tree Branches
This may be an old, unoccupied nest, a wide, flat branch of a tree, the hollowed top of a stump, or a hollow place on a fallen log.
Stumps
This may be an old, unoccupied nest, a wide, flat branch of a tree, the hollowed top of a stump, or a hollow place on a fallen log.

Which sex of great horned owl makes higher, huskier notes?
Female
During the great horned owl mating season, the challenging, deep, rich tones of the males are occasionally interspersed with the higher and huskier notes of the females.
Male

In what season do great horned owls lay more eggs?
Wet
Pacific horned owls tend to lay larger sets of eggs during wet than dry seasons, potentially because the birds find food more plentiful at such times.
Dry

When do great horned owls lay eggs?
Winter & Spring
Of the North American species, great horned owls are one of the first to nest in the spring, but their eggs have been taken as early as late November and early December in Florida.
Summer & Fall
Spring & Summer
Fall & Winter

Great horned owls are easy to keep in captivity.
False
Despite their dignified bearing and handsome plumage, great horned owls do not make pleasing additions to aviaries as they are the most irredeemably morose and untamable. Even when raised in captivity, the animals often remain surly, sullen, morose, vicious, and hostile, often flying in rage at strangers and even their owners.
True

What is the great horned owl’s assessment on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species?
Least Concern
The great horned owl is listed as Least Concern on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species because of its extremely large range, stable population, and extremely large population size.
Vulnerable
Near Threatened
Endangered

The great horned owl is the most powerful of owls.
True
The great horned owl is not only the most formidable in appearance of all owls, but it is also the most powerful. The great grey owl (Strix nebulosa) and the snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus) may appear larger, but the great horned owl exceeds them in courage, weight, and strength.
False

Great horned owls sleep upright on limbs.
True
The great horned owl sleeps upright on limbs.
False

Great horned owls hoot together, simultaneously.
False
One bird will hoot and in regular sequence as many as four or five others will answer. It is seldom that two birds are heard calling simultaneously.
True

The great horned owl is common and widely distributed.
True
The great horned owl is common and widely distributed. Since the division into two species, the great horned owl is the second most widely distributed owl in the Americas, just after the common barn-owl, but its ability to colonize islands is apparently considerably less than those of common barn-owls (Tyto alba) and short-eared owls (Asio flammeus).
False

Indigenous tribes feared the great horned owl as a personification of what?
The Evil One
Certain native tribes regarded the great horned owl as the very personification of the Evil One. They feared the great horned owl’s influence and regarded its visits to their dwellings as portentous of disaster or death.
Disaster
Certain native tribes regarded the great horned owl as the very personification of the Evil One. They feared the great horned owl’s influence and regarded its visits to their dwellings as portentous of disaster or death.
Death
Certain native tribes regarded the great horned owl as the very personification of the Evil One. They feared the great horned owl’s influence and regarded its visits to their dwellings as portentous of disaster or death.
Disease

The great horned owl is larger than a red-tailed hawk.
True
The great horned owl is larger than the red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) with an even greater wing spread.
False

Great horned owls will act wounded to distract predators from their nests.
True
Great horned owls have been known to act as if wounded as a protest against intruders to their nests with young. The great horned owl will flutter over the ground like a ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus) uttering short “wailing” notes and beating the ground with one wing and then the other to act as if wounded as a protest against intruders to their nests with young.
False

Great horned owls prefer nests that are enclosed and hidden.
False
Observations in the Ithaca region suggest that when there are several satisfactory nests in a territory the great horned owl will choose a nest preferably in a fairly open situation. It is obvious that a nest completely enclosed by interlacing branches would not allow such bulky birds to approach or depart quickly in time of emergency and most nests are at least moderately exposed.
True

Great horned owls prefer nests made of leaves.
False
In general stick nests seem to be preferred to leaf nests. This is probably due to the fact that they are larger and offer firmer foundations.
True

Where does the great horned owl start eating its prey?
Head
In eating its prey, this owl usually begins at the head and eats backward.
Tail
Feet
Stomach

Great horned owls always eat the entirety of their prey.
False
Ordinarily, when there is good hunting, the great horned owl has a plentiful supply of food, and when there is game enough, it slaughters an abundance and eats only the brains.
True

What is the great horned owl’s primary circadian rhythm?
Nocturnal
The great horned owl is a nocturnal bird, most active in the dusk of the evening and on moonlit nights, but it may be heard hooting at times at midnight in the dark of the moon. It hunts at night, yet it can see perfectly in the daytime. The bird often hunts just before dusk on dull days, and, on very dark days, it may be out before the middle of the afternoon.
Diurnal
Crepuscular
Unknown

Great horned owls at what latitude lay eggs earlier in the year?
South
In Texas, they lay in January and early February. As one moves northward, a direct correlation between latitude and date of laying can be observed, until the extreme is reached in Labrador where sets are often not completed until after the first of April. In the western part of the country the correlation with latitude is often obscured by the effect of altitude upon climatic conditions.
North

Which season of the great horned owl’s migration is most evident?
Fall
The spring migration northward is not so evident as the fall exodus.
Spring

Great horned owls fly at low levels.
True
It threads its way with perfect precision through the branches of the forest trees, or glides at low levels over the open meadows, where it can drop swiftly and silently on its unsuspecting prey.
False

Great horned owls are unaffected by the skunk’s scent.
True
Great horned owls seem to care little for the disagreeable consequences of attacking pungent animals, such as skunks. The owls’ nests often smell strongly of skunk, and the birds themselves, often retain this pungent odor for long periods of time.
False

The feathered ear tufts of the great horned owl reflect the animal’s emotions.
True
If an owl is alert and watchful, its ear tufts will go up, but if it’s scared or angry, its ear tufts will go down.
False

How many subspecies of great horned owl are recognized?
10-20
A large number of great horned owl subspecies, more than 20 altogether, have been named. However, many of these are not true races and only examples of individual or clinal variation. Subspecies differences are mainly in color and size and generally follow Gloger’s and Bergmann’s rules: The most conservative treatments of great horned owl races may describe as few as 10 subspecies, although an intermediate number is typical in most writings.
0
2-10
20-30

What are alternate names for the great horned owl?
King Owl
The great horned owl is also known as the tiger owl, cat owl, chicken owl, king owl, or hoot owl. Tiger owl was originally derived from early naturalists’ description of the bird as the winged tiger or tiger of the air.
Hoot Owl
The great horned owl is also known as the tiger owl, cat owl, chicken owl, king owl, or hoot owl. Tiger owl was originally derived from early naturalists’ description of the bird as the winged tiger or tiger of the air.
Tiger Owl
The great horned owl is also known as the tiger owl, cat owl, chicken owl, king owl, or hoot owl. Tiger owl was originally derived from early naturalists’ description of the bird as the winged tiger or tiger of the air.
Barn Owl

Why do great horned owls hoot?
Dominance Assertion
The most important function of great horned owl hooting is to attract a mate. Another function is its challenge to others of his sex. Thus, in the creek bottoms south of Lawrence, Kansas, where one horned owl territory was often hemmed in on two sides by the ranges of other individuals, one bird would hoot and in regular sequence as many as four or five others would answer.
Mate Attraction
The most important function of great horned owl hooting is to attract a mate. Another function is its challenge to others of his sex. Thus, in the creek bottoms south of Lawrence, Kansas, where one horned owl territory was often hemmed in on two sides by the ranges of other individuals, one bird would hoot and in regular sequence as many as four or five others would answer.
Answering & Echoing
The most important function of great horned owl hooting is to attract a mate. Another function is its challenge to others of his sex. Thus, in the creek bottoms south of Lawrence, Kansas, where one horned owl territory was often hemmed in on two sides by the ranges of other individuals, one bird would hoot and in regular sequence as many as four or five others would answer.
Prey Distraction

What is a group of great horned owls called?
Parliament
A group of great horned owls is called a parliament or a stare.
Stare
A group of great horned owls is called a parliament or a stare.
Congress
Hoot

Which sex of great horned owls possesses larger syringes?
Male
Females possess smaller syringes. The syringes of females average 17% smaller than those of males.
Female

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