Great Horned Owl Calls, Hoots, Sounds (w/ AUDIO clips)

Below, you will learn how to identify the CALLS, SOUNDS, AND HOOTS of a Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus).

great horned owl calls and sounds

You should be able to hear Great Horned Owls no matter where you live. They are widespread and found almost everywhere in North America!

Great Horned Owl Calls:

  • Make sure to press PLAY on the audio files below. 🙂


In my opinion, no other owl has better “hooting” than the Great Horned Owl. Males give deep, low, booming sounds – “Hoo-hoo hooooo hoo-hoo” – which can be heard several miles away.

Females also hoot, but the calls are noticeably higher pitched than males since they have a smaller syrinx. Breeding pairs often perform a duet back and forth, which can be heard in the recording above! The BEST time to hear Great Horned Owl sounds is at night during late fall or early winter. This is when they are setting up territories and courting mates.

In addition to hooting, Great Horned Owls make various other noises. One example is that adults will screech loudly to protect the nest. Or juvenile owls give piercing screams to beg for food from their parents. In addition, an array of growls, barks, coos, beak snapping, shrieks, and whistles are heard. Below are a few examples of these sounds:

Female screech:

Begging call:

Watch the short video below for more examples of calls and sounds from a Great Horned Owl.

YouTube video

Have you heard the calls and sounds of a Great Horned Owl before?

If so, please let us know below!

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  1. My wife and i heard a pair of great horned owls on January 8 2024 at 7am just outside Massillon Ohio. A few years ago we had a nesting pair in a big pine it would be great if they came back.

  2. I live in Greenfield Indiana, there are 2 different owls in my backyard that I have been very lucky to see several times in the past couple weeks and get photos of, I feel very lucky! I did get to hear them hooting and see one of them puff it’s neck out and make a kind of a clicking chirping sound to another one that was on a branch right above it, it was just amazing.