Family Typical Owls (Strigidae)

Least Concern

Great Grey Owl (Strix nebulosa)


Taxonomy

French: Chouette lapone German: Bartkauz Spanish: Cárabo lapón
Taxonomy:

Strix nebulosa

J. R. Forster

, 1772,

north-western Ontario, Canada

.

Affinities uncertain. Population from Kentei Mts, in N Mongolia, has been described as race elisabethae, but doubtfully separable from lapponica. Recent genetic study of North American populations indicates that individuals in Sierra Nevada (California) represent a distinct lineage, for which subspecific name yosemitensis has been proposed#R; no associated plumage, morphometric or vocal differences reported, however, and further study desirable. Two subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. n. nebulosa J. R. Forster, 1772 – North America from C Alaska E to SE Canada (SW Quebec), S in USA to EC California, N Idaho and NE Minnesota.
  • S. n. lapponica Thunberg, 1798 – Eurasia from Fennoscandia E to C Chukotka, S to Poland, Belarus and N Ukraine, N Mongolia, NE China and Sakhalin#R#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    59–69 cm; male c. 800–1175 g, female 925–1700 g. Large owl, with big rounded head and small, “staring” eyes; slow, deep wingbeats in flight.... read more

    Voice

    Series of low, evenly spaced “hoou” notes, deep and booming, accelerating and dropping... read more

    Habitat

    Dense boreal or coniferous forest, favouring areas with openings: taiga interspersed with sphagnum... read more

    Food and feeding

    Small mammals, especially rodents; also birds up to size of grouse (Tetraonidae), and frogs and large insects. During breeding, largely... read more

    Breeding

    Season Mar–Jul in North America; Mar–Aug in Europe. Monogamous; occasional polygyny suspected; pair-bond not maintained over... read more

    Movements

    Resident and nomadic; movement patterns variable, stable in some areas and/or years, highly... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. CITES II. Populations fluctuate widely, but generally scarce, with food supply likely critical factor regulating numbers: in Sweden, numbers of pairs... read more

    Recommended citation

    Holt, D.W., Berkley, R., Deppe, C., Enríquez Rocha, P., Petersen, J.L., Rangel Salazar, J.L., Segars, K.P. & Wood, K.L. (2017). Great Grey Owl (Strix nebulosa). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from http://www.hbw.com/node/55044 on 20 September 2017).