Great horned owl


Bubo virginianus

The “tiger of the night sky” is common resident in the Bay Area. Although excellent at camouflage, you can often hear their distinct “hoo-h’HOO-hooo-hoo” at dawn and dusk.

The great horned owl can turn its head almost completely around. Owls have excellent hearing, and the ability to swivel the head allows them to target prey with great precision.  Since they have very large eyes that cannot move around, this special adaptation also allows the great horned owls to better find prey by sight.

Bubo, our great horned owl animal ambassador, was found in Castro Valley in 1999, where he was vocalizing and approaching people. These behaviors indicate he might have been raised by humans when very young. He lives in our exhibit hall and is a very popular animal ambassador, working in school tours, classes, outreach programs, exhibit hall presentations, and even on-site birthday parties!