Backyard BirdsUncategorized

Genus: Bubo – Horned Owls and Eagle Owls

The genus Bubo includes both the Horned Owls (Bubo virginianus) and the Eagle Owls (Bubo bubo). Historically, only owls with ear tufts were included here, but that is no longer so.

The Horned Owls – found in North and South America – were named for their prominent ear tufts that resemble horns.

They are among the largest owls found in many parts of the world.

This Group Includes the Following Families / Species are:

(Geographic ranges / Ref: Clements checklist 2012)

Horned Owls (Bubo virginianus)

Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus virginianus – J. F. Gmelin, 1788) – Nominate form

Found in the USA, from Minnesota east to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island in Canada, south through eastern parts of Kansas and Texas to Florida.

  • South American Great Horned Owl, Venezuelan Great Horned Owl, Colombian Great Horned Owl, Desert Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus nacurutu – Vieillot, 1817) – Populations are found in the lowlands from eastern Colombia to the Guianas; as well as in Bolivia across to northeastern Brazil, south to east-central Argentina to about the city of Buenos Aires.

North Western Great Horned Owl, Northwestern Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus lagophonus – Oberholser, 1904)

Their range stretches from Alaska, south through the mountains to northeastern Oregon and northwestern Montana in the USA. They winter south to Texas.

St. Michael Horned Owl, Dusky Horned Owl, St.Michaels Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus saturatus – Ridgway, 1877)

They occur naturally on the coast of southwestern Alaska (Cook Inlet) to coastal central California.

Coast Horned Owl, California Great Horned Owl, California Horned Owl, Coast Great Horned Owl, Pacific Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus pacificus – Cassin, 1854)

Found on the central and southern coast of California south to northwestern Baja Californiaa.

Dwarf Horned Owl, Dwarf Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus elachistus – Brewster, 1902)

Southern Baja California and the Isla (island) Espíritu Santo in the Gulf of California, off Baja California Sur.

Western Horned Owl, Arctic Great Horned Owl, Arctic Horned Owl, Western Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus subarcticus – Hoy, 1853)

Found in Mackenzie and northwestern British Columbia east to Hudson Bay, south to at least to Wyoming and North Dakota

Virginia Great Horned Owl, Pallid Great Horned Owls, Pallid Horned Owl, Western Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus pallescens – Stone, 1897)

Found in the deserts of central and southeastern California east to Kansas and south to Mexico, specifically the western parts of the eastern state of Veracruz and the states of Guerrero and Oaxaca in South Mexico.

Newfoundland Horned Owl, Labrador Great Horned Owls, Labrador Horned Owl, Newfoundland Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus heterocnemis – Oberholser, 1904)

Occur naturally in northeastern Canada south to the Great Lakes region

Yucatan Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus mayensis – Nelson, 1901)

Occur naturally in southeastern Mexico – on the Yucatán Peninsula.

Oaxaca Horned Owl, Costa Rican Great Horned Owls, Costa Rican Horned Owl, Oaxaca Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus mesembrinus – Oberholser, 1904)

Found in Southern Mexico (Isthmus of Tehuántepec) to western Panama.

Ecuadorian Great Horned Owl, Ecuador Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus nigrescens – Berlepsch, 1884)

Found in the Andes mountain range of Colombia to Ecuador and northwestern Peru.

Magellanic Horned Owls / Magellan Horned Owl (Bubo magellanicus – Gmelin, JF, 1788) – full species. Previously considered a subspecies of ssp. B. virginianus or magellanicus. Based on differences in vocalizations and behavior, and also established by DNA, this race was separated.

Range: From Central Peru, western Bolivia and western Argentina, south to Tierra del Fuego and Cape Horn.

Snowy Owl (Bubo / Nyctea scandiaca – Linnaeus, 1758)

Breed in the Arctic tundra of the northermost stretches of Alaska, Canada and Eurasia; and migrate south to winter in Canada and northern Eurasis. Vagrants have been reproted as as far south as the American states of Texas, Georgia, the American Gulf states, southernmost Russia, and northern China.

Eagle Owl - photo taken at
event in Strathclyde park, Lanarkshire, Scotland. Birds belonged to Cumbernauld
bird of prey centre

Eagle Owls (Bubo bubo)

Eurasian Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo – Linnaeus, 1758) – Nominate Race

  • Range: Europe – from northern Spain through western Europe to western Russia (east to about Gor’kiy).

Eurasian Eagle Owl (kiautschensis) (Bubo bubo kiautschensis – Reichenow, 1903)

  • Range: From Western and central China (south to Yunnan and Sichuan) east to Korea.

Bubo bubo swinhoei Hartert, 1913 – Southeastern China. usually considered invalid. Some authorities consider this a subspecies of Bubo bubo kiautschensis)

Spanish Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo hispanus – Rothschild and Hartert, 1910)

  • Range: Iberian Peninsula; formerly occurred on the Atlas Mountains of northwestern Africa. Possibly extinct

Eastern Eurasian Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo ruthenus – Buturlin and Zhitkov, 1906)

  • Range: Central European Russia to Ural Mountains and lower Volga basin

East European Eurasian Eagle Owl , Eurasian Eagle Owl, Northern Eagle Owl, Eurasian Eagle Owl (interpositus) (Bubo bubo interpositus – Rothschild and Hartert, 1910)

  • Range: From Romania and southern Ukraine east to Volga delta, south to Middle East (south to central Israel and Jordan) and northwestern Iran.

Eurasian Eagle Owl (sibiricus) (Bubo bubo sibiricus – Gloger, 1833)

  • Range: From western foothills of Ural Mountains east to Ob River south to western Altai

Eurasian Eagle Owl (yenisseensis) (Bubo bubo yenisseensis – Buturlin, 1911)

  • Range: Central Siberia from Ob river to lake Baikal, south to Altai and northern Mongolia.

Steppe Eurasian Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo turcomanus – Eversmann, 1835)

  • Range: Found in the steppes between the lower Volga River and Ural River , east to Transbaikalia, and south to Kazakhstan, extreme northwestern China (Tarim Basin in northwestern Xinjiang) and western Mongolia.

Himalayan Eagle-Owl (Bubo bubo hemachalanus – Hume, 1873)

Range: Pamirs and northern Tien Shan south to western Himalayas and western Tibet

Afghan Eurasian Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo nikolskii – Zarudny, 1905)

Range: Eastern Iraq to Iran, Afghanistan and northern and western Pakistan

Eurasian Eagle Owl (jakutensis) (Bubo bubo jakutensis – Buturlin, 1908)

Range: Northeastern Siberia (Lena River to Sea of Okhotsk)

Eurasian Eagle Owl (ussuriensis) (Bubo bubo ussuriensis – Poliakov, 1915)

Range: Southeastern Siberia to northeastern China, Sakhalin, northern Hokkaido and southern Kuril Islands.

Northern Eagle Owl / Eurasian Eagle Owl (tarimensis) (Bubo bubo tarimensis – Buturlin, 1928)

Eurasian Eagle Owl (borissowi) (Bubo bubo borissowi – Hesse, 1915)

Northern Eagle Owl / Eurasian Eagle Owl (tibetanus) (Bubo bubo tibetanus – Bianchi, 1906)

Eurasian eagle owl, Northern eagle owl (Bubo bubo omissus – Dementiev, 1932)

Turkmeniya to western China (Chinese Turkestan) – usually considered invalid

Rock Eagle Owl, Indian Eagle Owl, Bengal Eagle Owl (Bubo bengalensis – Franklin, 1831)

Range: Indian Subcontinent (except Sri Lanka), N to foothills of Himalayas, and western Burma / Myanmar.

Pharaoh Eagle Owl, Desert Eagle Owl,(Bubo ascalaphus – Savigny, 1809) – Nominate Form – Range: Northwestern Africa and northern Egypt east to western Iraq

  • Bubo ascalaphus desertorum – Erlanger, 1897 – Range: In Africa south of the Sahara to Mauretania and Niger, east to Ethiopia, Arabia and southern Iraq.

Cape Eagle Owl (Bubo capensis capensis – A. Smith, 1834) – Nominate Form – Range: South Africa and extreme S Namibia.

  • Bubo capensis dillonii – Des Murs and Prévost, 1846 – Southern Eritrea (Horn of Africa) and Ethiopian Highlands.
  • Bubo capensis mackinderi – Sharpe, 1899 – from west central Kenya south to Zimbabwe and western Mozambiqe.

Spotted Eagle Owl, African Eagle Owl (Bubo africanus africanus, Temminck, 1821) – Nominate Form – Gabon eas to Democratic Republic of the Congo (south of the rainforest), southern Uganda and central Kenya, south to the Cape.

  • Bubo africanus milesi – Sharpe, 1886 – SW Arabia, Yemen and Oman.
  • Bubo africanus tanae – Keith and Twomey, 1968 – R Tana and Lali Hills, in southeastern Kenya.

Grayish Eagle Owl, Greyish Eagle Owl, Vermiculated Eagle Owl (Bubo cinerascens – Guerin-Meneville, 1843)

Africa from northern parts of Senegambia east to Ethiopia and Somalia, south to Cameroon, northern Uganda and northern Kenya.

Fraser’s or Nduk Eagle-Owl (Bubo [poensis or vosseleri] – Fraser, 1854)

Africa, from Liberia east to western Uganda, south through the Congo basin to the central Democratic Republic of the Congo and northwestern Angola. Populations also recorded on the island of Bioko (Fernando Póo) located off the west coast of Africa

Usambara Eagle Owl, Nduk Eagle Owl (Bubo vosseleri – Reichenow, 1908)

Africa, in the Usambara mountains of northeastern Tanzania. Reports also from the Uluguru Mountains and possibly in the Nguru Mountains.

Spot-bellied Eagle Owl, Forest Eagle Owl (Bubo nipalensis – Hodgson, 1836) – Nominate Form – Himalayas from N Uttar Pradesh E to SW China (Yunnan), S to Cambodia and Vietnam; also S India in Western Ghats and Tamil Nadu.

  • Bubo nipalensis blighi– Legge, 1878) – Sri Lanka – an island country in the northern Indian Ocean off the southern coast of the India.

Barred Eagle Owl, Malay Eagle Owl, Oriental Eagle Owl (Bubo sumatranus – Raffles, 1822) – Nominate Form – extreme southern Burma / Myanmar and peninsular Thailand south to Sumatra, including Bangka Island situated east of Sumatra, Indonesia.

  • Bubo sumatranus strepitans (Temminck, 1823) – Found on the islands of Borneo, Java and Bali (Indonesia / Southeast Asia).

Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, Giant Eagle Owl, Giant Eagle-Owl, Milky Eagle Owl, Milky Eagle-Owl, Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Verreaux’s Owl (Bubo lacteus – Temminck, 1820)

Found in Africa south of the Sahara.

Dusky Eagle Owl (Bubo coromandus – Latham, 1790) – Nominate Form – Found in Pakistan, northern and central parts of India and southern Nepal east to Assam and Bangladesh. Populations may also be found in east China.

  • Bubo coromandus klossi – Robinson, 1911 – Western and southern Burma / Myanmar, W Thailand.

Shelley’s Eagle Owl (Bubo shelleyi – Sharpe and Ussher, 1872)

Range: Africa – from Sierra Leone and Liberia east to Ghana, and southern Cameroon and northern Gabon east to to northern Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Akun Eagle Owl, Sooty Eagle Owl (Bubo leucostictus – Hartlaub, 1855) – Distribution: In Africa patchily distributed from Sierra Leone and Liberia east to Nigeria and Cameroon, south to the mouth of the Congo River, Cabinda and probably northwestern Angola, and across northern Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Philippine Eagle Owl (Bubo philippensis – Kaup, 1851): Nominate Form – An endangered and rare bird species found near lakes in lowland jungles in the Philippines islands of Catanduanes, Samar, Mindanao, Luzon and Leyte.

  • Bubo philippensis mindanensis – Ogilvie-Grant, 1906 – Samar, Leyte and Mindanao; recently recorded on Bohol.

Blakiston’s Fish Owl (Bubo blakistoni – Seebohm, 1884) – Nominate Form – found on Hokkaido and Southern Kuril Islands )

  • Bubo blakistoni piscivorus – Meise, 1933 – Western Manchuria (west of Great Khingan Mountains).
  • Bubo blakistoni doerriesi – Seebohm, 1895 – Southeastern Siberia and extreme northeastern China, to the Korean border.
  • Bubo blakistoni karafutonis – Kuroda, 1931 – Sakhalin Island

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Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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