Lesser Horned Owl (Bubo magellanicus)

Lesser Horned Owl

[order] STRIGIFORMES | [family] Strigidae | [latin] Bubo magellanicus | [authority] Gmelin, 1789 | [UK] Lesser Horned Owl | [FR] Grand-duc de Magellanie | [DE] Magellanuhu | [ES] Buho Magallanico | [NL] Magelhaense oehoe


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Bubo magellanicus SA c Peru to Tierra del Fuego


Members of the genus Bubo are the largest of the owls. Heavily built with powerful talons they are recognisable by their size, their prominent ear-tufts, and their eyes that vary in colour from yellow to brown but are frequently vivid orange. The genus, including the Asian fish owls of the genus Ketupa – now believed to be part of Bubo – comprises of 20 species ranging Eurasia, Indonesia, Africa and the Americas. DNA evidence suggests that the Snowy Owls of Nyctea and the fish owls of Scotopelia are also candidates for inclusion in this genus.

Physical charateristics

It is about 45 centimetres long with birds in the north of the range being largest. It has broad wings and a large head with two “ear” tufts. The plumage is mainly grey-brown but is quite variable in colour. The underparts are pale with narrow grey-brown bars and the breast has dark blotches. There is a black border to the facial disc and white stripes above the yellow eyes. The Great Horned Owl is similar but larger with stronger feet and bill, broader bars on the underparts and longer ear-tufts.

Listen to the sound of Lesser Horned Owl

[audio:http://www.planetofbirds.com/MASTER/STRIGIFORMES/Strigidae/sounds/Lesser Horned Owl.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 43 cm size max.: 47 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 0   eggs min.: 0  
      eggs max.: 0  


South America : Central Peru to Tierra del Fuego. The range extends from central Peru and western Bolivia southwards through Chile and western Argentina as far as Tierra del Fuego


The bird occurs in a variety of habitats including open forest, scrubland, farmland and grassland


No data

Feeding habits

It hunts over open country, mainly at night. Rodents make up most of the diet but birds and insects are also taken

Video Lesser Horned Owl


copyright: Mark Sutton


No data available
It has traditionally been classified as a subspecies of the Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus), but is now frequently treated as a separate species based on differences in voice and size and because of the genetic distance between the two.
Lesser Horned Owl status Data Deficient



Distribution map

Lesser Horned Owl distribution range map

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