Most people, when they think of birds, picture tiny little animals that fly around yards and gardens, such as the hummingbird, the cardinal, or the blue jay.
There are many sorts of birds that are enormous and somewhat intimidating because to both their size and the piercing qualities that they possess. While these breeds are beautiful, majestic, and a fantastic representation of the species, there are many more types of birds that are large and terrible.
The owl is a magnificent example of a huge bird, and its nighttime hoot is famous for its depth and the force with which it is delivered. Owls are nocturnal birds, and because of this, their feathers are disguised so that they can pursue their prey without being noticed.
Even though owls can be quite little or quite enormous, the larger owls have a terrifying appearance but are also quite fluffy, which makes them highly appealing predators.
Let’s take a look at the five owl species that hold the record for the highest size, and talk a little bit about their lifestyles and personalities.
Largest Owl in the World
Every single species of owl possesses a one-of-a-kind combination of traits and attributes. In this post, we will take a more in-depth look at the species of owls that are considered to be the largest in the world, explain how enormous they actually are, and explore the characteristics that stand out the most about them.
Great Horned Owl
The Great Horned Owl is the species of owl that is found the most frequently in North and South America. It gets its name from the characteristic feathery “horns” that emerge from the top of its head.
These beautiful birds are mainly monogamous, and both the male and female take turns caring for the young. These tasks include incubating the eggs and searching for food to ensure that both parents are well-fed while the young are being raised.
The prey of this adaptable predator can range from small animals like scorpions and rodents to larger birds like other raptors and even other species of birds of prey. Even though it seldom has to do so, the Great Horned Owl’s striking appearance and formidable strength make it capable of bringing down prey that is considerably larger than itself.
The Great Horned Owl is an excellent predator that often searches for its prey at night. At dawn and dusk are the only times you are most likely to spot them, unless you go walking around in the dark.
When they are hunting, they could perch on various posts or branches to have a better view of their surroundings. It is very possible that you have heard their hoot, which is low and is often repeated between four and five times.
The Great Horned Owl is a species of owl that may be discovered in a variety of habitats. They are one of the most versatile species of owls and may be found in a variety of habitats, including young woodlands, tundra borders, deserts, and even rainforests. You will generally find them in areas of young woodlands. There have been reports of people seeing these owls in urban areas, as well as in the suburbs and orchards.
This species of owl, which is also known as the Striped Owl, gets its name from the striped markings that go all the way across its body. The Barred Owl is particularly notable for being the only species of owl in the Eastern United States to have brown eyes; the other owls in the area have eyes that are either yellow or golden in color.
The maximum length of the bird is 63 centimeters, and its wing spread may reach 125 centimeters.
They are most common in the eastern part of the United States, but you can also find a sizeable population of them in southern Canada. In addition to this, they are one of the most successful kinds of owls that exist in the globe today; in fact, some experts consider them to be an invasive species.
This is a direct outcome of their capacity to outcompete other predatory birds in places that are adjacent to their natural habitats. Because of this and the fact that they are considered to be of least concern, experts have proposed strategies to help keep their numbers under control through the use of culling.
The Snowy Owl, with its stunning white feathers, is often considered to be one of the most attractive species of owl. In spite of its attractive appearance, it is a voracious predator who is not to be trifled with.
There have even been reports of it capturing smaller birds out of the air. The snowy environments in which this owl lives likely contributed to its distinctive white appearance, which serves as concealment.
Because they are endemic to snowy surroundings, Snowy Owls have a highly distinctive appearance, in contrast to the majority of other owls, who prefer to live in woods.
The majority of their feathers are white, although some adults will have brown dots scattered throughout the white plumage. Males often have less coloring than their female counterparts. When viewed against the white background, their golden eyes have a highly penetrating appearance.
These birds are fairly huge. They are somewhat bigger than a Great Horned Owl, but the difference is not significant. The heads of Snowy Owls are rounded, and their bodies are stocky. Because they live in very chilly locations, their legs are unusually well-insulated with feathers.
Because their natural habitats on the tundra are devoid of trees and other forms of vegetation, snowy owls frequently hunt in open areas near to the ground and in large spaces. They will perch on items such as fence posts or hay bales while they are out hunting.
They don’t normally soar very high in the air but rather stay rather low to the ground.
The Arctic tundra is the Snowy Owl’s breeding ground, although during the dead of winter you may frequently spot this species near bodies of water, agricultural lands, and even cities.
This species, which is also known as the Powerful Boobook, is the largest owl in Australia and is even considered to be one of the top predators on the continent. They grow up to 65 cm length, with a wingspan of up to 135 cm.
They make their home in the mountains of the Great Dividing Range, which are located inland from the east coast of Australia. These mountains have also hindered the species from spreading further across the continent.
Because meat makes approximately 75 percent of the Powerful Owl’s diet, it is considered to be the most carnivorous species of owl found anywhere in the world. Additionally, its conservation status is controversial, with some international organizations considering it to be of least concern while others do not.
Nevertheless, both the state of New South Wales and the state of Victoria in Australia consider it to be a vulnerable species instead.
Great Grey Owl
This skilled hunter flaunts a stunning covering of grey feathers and the biggest facial disc of any bird that is currently known. This feathered disc on the owl’s face is circular and concave, and it serves the purpose of directing sound more efficiently to the animal’s ears.
The exceptional hearing of the Great Grey Owl enables it to find prey even up to one meter and a half deep in the snow.
The majority of this owl’s diet consists of small birds and rodents, but it has been known to consume larger prey, such as rabbits and other larger animals and birds of prey.
Even though they are mostly nocturnal, Great Grey Owls sometimes be found hunting during the day.
Swamplands and damp forests appeal more to this bird than other habitats do, but they are ready to occupy various areas, especially during migration.
Great Grey Owls avoid living in regions where there are plenty of people. It is most probable that you will come across them in woodland openings or on the outskirts of meadows. They hunt most often in the hours just before dawn or just after night. When they are hunting, they hunt by flying low over the ground, whether it be a grassy field or a woodland floor.
It is possible that these owls make their homes in the marshy woods of the subarctic.
Because of their striking similarities in appearance, the Spotted Owl and the Barred Owl are frequently confused with one another. However, in contrast to the Barred Owl, the Spotted Owl has cross-shaped spots scattered throughout its body. These spots give the Spotted Owl its name.
The maximum length of the species is 43 centimeters, and its maximum wing spread is 114 centimeters. The majority of them are found in Mexico, although some are dispersed throughout the southern and western states of the United States.
The Spotted Owl is another species that has been severely impacted by the destruction of its natural habitats as a result of human development. In certain regions, the presence of the Barred Owl, which is a competitor, has had a detrimental impact on Spotted Owl numbers.
According to the criteria used by international organizations, this has resulted in the Spotted Owl becoming a species that is on the verge of extinction.
Eurasian Eagle Owl
The highlands of Eurasia are home to the Eurasian Eagle Owl, which may be found all the way from Finland and the Kola Peninsula in Russia to northern Mongolia. The Eurasian Eagle Owl is able to quickly adjust to its surroundings.
Because of this, they have a great deal of versatility in terms of their living arrangements.
The open environment with a few scattered pockets of trees is the ideal setting for the owl. The Eurasian Eagle Owl prefers to make its home in wide fields and woodlands with a sparse understory. It is also important to remember that in order to rest during the day, Eurasian Eagle Owls require a large number of perches.
The hours of dusk and morning are the primary times that these owls are active. They don’t make any noise when they’re in the air. These big birds are capable of flying at high speeds or even gliding for great distances.
During the day, Eurasian Eagle Owls will often roost in trees or rock crevices, either alone or in couples, depending on the circumstances.
Every adult Eurasian Eagle Owl has its own distinctive call, which is one of the characteristics that sets this species apart from others. This implies that you will be able to identify the type of owl you are hearing just by listening to its call.
The Eurasian Eagle Owl is able to adapt to a wide range of environments, from the temperate woods to the warmer deserts, where it may be found. However, they are most at home in rocky environments. They are widespread over Eurasia, particularly in Europe, the Middle East, and Northern Asia.
This species, which is also known as the Lesser Horned Owl, gets its name from the standing feathers that are seen on its head, similar to those found on the Great Horned Owl. Long-Eared Owls may reach a maximum length of 40 centimeters and have wingspans of up to 102 centimeters.
They are found in a huge variety of environments, and the birds may be found all throughout Europe and a large portion of Asia. In addition to this, they may be found all over the United States, as well as in southern Canada and northern Mexico.
Having said that, they have a tendency to steer clear of the chilly parts of Siberia and the tropical areas of South and Southeast Asia in Asia.
In today’s world, the Long-Eared Owl is considered to be of least concern in terms of conservation efforts. This assertion, however, has been called into doubt by a significant number of experts who have seen concerning patterns of population declines in a variety of regions that may be attributed to human growth.
Blakiston’s Fish Owl
With a length of nearly one meter (almost three feet), the Blakiston’s Fish Owl is the biggest of all the species of owls. The Eurasian Eagle Owl and this species share a similar outward appearance; however, the Eurasian Eagle Owl tends to be a little bit bigger, while this species appears to be substantially heavier.
They do not take fish out of the water like most other owl species, thus they do not have the down-covered feathers that allow them to fly silently like most other owl species. This is because they capture fish out of the water.
In a sad turn of events, the International Union for the Conservation of Wildlife has determined that the Blakiston’s Fish Owl should be classified as an endangered species. It is believed by specialists that there are less than 200 of these birds still alive in the world today.
The Blakiston’s Fish Owl, which is native to China and Japan, has the title of the largest owl in the world as well as the title of the largest bird of prey in the world.
Unfortuitously, this is also the species that is most at risk of going extinct if we are unable to discover a way to reverse the current declining trend in population numbers.
There are none of the Eurasian Eagle Owls, which are the second biggest owls in the world, living in the United States.
During the winter months in the United States, we must keep our fingers crossed that we will be able to catch a glimpse of either the third largest Great Grey Owl or the fourth largest Snowy Owl (https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/article/worlds-biggest-owl-is-endangered-but-it’s-not-too-late). Both of these owls are notoriously difficult to spot.
The Blakiston’s Fish Owl’s diet consists almost entirely of fish. Even larger fish, comparable in size to trout or catfish, have been found among these species. These birds will also hunt smaller animals such as hares during the winter months when they are out and about.
They usually begin their hunts just before nightfall, but they can also be active during the twilight hours. The majority of the time spent by the Blakiston’s Fish Owl is spent on the ground.
The song that this breed produces is one of the distinguishing characteristics that sets it apart, in addition to its enormous size. The owl has a highly distinctive call, and it has a low-pitched sound. It is frequently performed as a duet, although it can also be sung on its own.
The duet will consist of three different notes. The first two are inherited from the male, while the third was passed down from the mother. There will be an overlap between the female note and the second male note.
The riverine and coniferous woods are often the best places to look for Blakiston’s Fish Owls. They make it a point to congregate in regions that are characterized by swift-moving rivers since this affords them the opportunity to pursue fish, which constitutes the majority of their ideal diet.
As a result of deforestation, their habitats are being lost; thus, conservation measures have been initiated to conserve this breed’s native environment in order to protect it from extinction.
Verreaux’s Eagle Owl
The Verreaux’s Eagle Owl is the biggest owl in Africa and the largest owl in the tropics. It is also known as the Milky Eagle Owl and the Giant Eagle Owl. It was the French scientist Jules Verreaux who first documented the bird in the early 19th century, therefore the bird was given his name in his honor.
The maximum length of the bird is 66 centimeters, and its maximum wing spread is 164 centimeters. The Sahara Desert, which is located to the north of its range, prevents the species from moving farther to the north. It may be found across the African continent.
The species has also demonstrated a surprising flexibility over human development of its habit, having frequently adjusted its eating patterns in order to live. This has been a testament to its capacity to coexist with humans.
Although researchers are unable to provide an accurate population estimate for the Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, this species is now considered to be of “least concern.”
The Blakiston’s Fish Owl is the biggest species of owl in the world. The Eurasian Eagle Owl, the Great Grey Owl, the Snowy Owl, and the Great Horned Owl are the four big owl breeds that are left after that.
You shouldn’t mess with any of these owls since they are all enormous and skilled hunters, which means you shouldn’t bother them.
In addition to their intimidating size and capacity for predation, the fact that many of them are uncommon or endangered is another reason why you shouldn’t mess with them.
Given that we are responsible for the loss of a significant portion of their natural territory due to deforestation, we shouldn’t do anything to make their predicaments even more difficult, such as bothering them!