The Great Grey Ghost

The Great Grey Owl or Lapland Owl is a very large owl, distributed across the Northern Hemisphere. In some areas it is also called the Great Gray Ghost, Phantom of the north, Cinereous Owl, Spectral Owl, Lapland Owl, Spruce Owl, Bearded Owl and Sooty Owl.

This owl does not have ear tufts and has the largest facial disc of any raptor.
_RJB4238Photo by J.Borno

In terms of length, the Great Gray Owl is believed to exceed the Eurasian Eagle-Owl and the Blakiston’s Fish Owl as the world’s largest owl. The length ranges from 61 to 84 cm (24 to 33 in). The wingspan can exceed 152 cm (60 in). The adult weight ranges from 580 to 1,900 g (1.3 to 4.2 lb)

The harvest of timber from the Great Grey Owl’s habitat is, perhaps, the greatest threat to this species.
Photo by J.Borno

They breed in North America from as far east as Quebec to the Pacific coast and Alaska, and from Finland and Estonia across northern Asia. They are permanent residents, but may move south when food is scarce. A small population, estimated at less than 100 birds, occurs in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. This population is the southernmost population of the species’ range and is listed Endangered under California’s Endangered Species Act.

The Great Gray Owl is the provincial bird of Manitoba, Canada.
Photo by J.Borno

In the Harry Potter series, the Weasley’s exhausted owl, Errol, is a Great Grey Owl.


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