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Lewis & Clark as Naturalists
The Collection: Species Details Lewis and Clark as Naturalists
Bird    Species Name:
Bubo virginianus

Common Name:
Great Horned Owl


Montrail County, North Dakota   April 14, 1805

Hooting owl of the U.' States

Great horned owls inhabit every state, except Hawaii.  They vary from the darker colored birds of the Northwest, to lighter colors in the Arctic region.  Lewis did make note of such subtle differences, for instance, when he described a great horned owl in Idaho as being both deeper, and brighter in color.  His keen observations are the kind that inform us how a single species varies in one physical attribute or another across a broad geographic area.

Journal Entries:

Capt. Lewis, April 14, 1805--one of a party killed a large hooting owl;  I observed no difference between this bird and those of the ...  more>>

Sound    great horned owl (0:00, 35 kb)
Credit: Tall Grass Prairie National Preserve
References Gmelin, Johann Friedrich, In Carl von Linné's, Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis, Editio decima tertia, aucta reformata, cura J.F. Gmelin (1788-1793), Lipsiae, impensis G. E. Beer, 1788

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great horned owl specimen

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great horned owl beak

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great horned owl

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