Facts about Hoot Owl. "Scientific name for Hoot Owl is Strix varia". The Hoot Owl was first identified by Barton in 1799 but was already well known to settlers by a variety of names. The Hoot owl is commonly called the Barred Owl, striped owl, eight hooter owl, wood owl, and round headed owl. The French call it Le Chat-huant du Nord.
There are several subspecies of Strix varia; Strix varia varia, the standard for the species.
Features of Hoot Owl
This grey-brown owl has a rounded head without ear tufts. The Hoot Owl has a facial disk with dark concentric lines around a pale gray and brown face.
The Hoot Owl has white horizontal bars on the chest and vertical bars on the abdomen, giving it the name "barred owl-Hoot Owl". The upper part of the body is grey to brown, though the wing coverts have off-white spots. The flight feathers have off-white beige to brown bars. Their tales range from grey to brown and have several light colored bars on them. The Hoot Owl has dark brown eyes that approach black in some individuals.
The legs and feet are covered with feathers.
The Hoot Owls are 16 to 24 inches tall (40.6 to 61 cm). Their wingspan ranges from 38 to 48 inches (96.5 to 122 cm). It ranges from one to two and a half pounds (.45 to 1.13 kg) per individual.
Hoot Owls like wooded areas among open grassy fields; they have spread rapidly into modern suburbs because it gives them easy access to the rodents they eat.
Range of Hoot Owl
The Hoot Owl is found across North America. The Hoot Owl is found from the forests of Quebec, Canada throughout the eastern U.S. to the northern edge of Mexico. Their range has been spreading west along with development, possibly offsetting the northern spotted owl in the Pacific Northwest.
Behavior of Hoot Owl
Hoot Owls primarily eat rodents like mice, shrews, meadow voles, rats, squirrels, rabbits, bats, possums, and even weasels. They have been shown to occasionally take cats, and they regularly prey on other birds like pigeons and doves. Hoot Owls will eat aquatic life like fish, frogs, and turtles. Hoot Owls will eat large insects like grasshoppers and crickets.
Hoot Owls nest in older, larger trees. Hoot Owls nest in tree cavities, often using those made by woodpeckers.
The Hoot Owls do not migrate across the continent but will wander throughout their range in search of mates and suitable nesting sites.
The Hoot Owl nesting season depends on where they are. Those in the northern end of its range in Canada nest around April, whereas those in Florida nest as early as mid-January. Their clutches range from two to four eggs, parents producing larger clutches when there is ample food. The Hoot Owls are brooded for four weeks, and the owls fledge four to five weeks later.
The Hoot Owl creates the stereotypical hoo call we know owls for, usually making eight accented "oos" per call.
Trivia of Hoot Owl
The Hoot Owl is closely related to the Spotted Owl, but that owl has spots instead of streaks on its under size. Spotted Owls and Hoot Owls can breed, but the offspring are sterile. The results of those unions are called Sparred Owls or Bottled Owls.
This is the only typical owl in the eastern US with brown eyes; the others have yellow eyes.
The Hoot Owls are hunted by the great horned owl.