About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Why Great Horned Owls have tufts

Great Horned Owls are named for the tufts of feathers that sit on top of their heads, called plumicorns (Latin for “feather-horn”). There are currently about 225 living owl species, and of those about 50 have these feathers that look like horns or ears like the Long- and Short-eared Owls. However they have nothing to do with horns or ears. An owl’s large ear openings are at the sides of its head.

Scientists don’t know why some owls developed the tufts, but they do have a few theories. They  might help members of their own species to recognize each other among the forest around them, or assist in non-verbal communication. They may also use the tufts to blend into their surroundings, making them look more like broken tree branches. Or tufts along with their large eyes they may enhance an owl’s ability to mimic a mammal like a cat and appear more frightening to predators.

Related Articles:
- Owls in Michigan http://where-owls-live.html

- Snowy Owls http://bit.ly/ylJmQq
- Eastern Screech Owl http://bit.ly/wMQBZj
- Great Horned Owl http://bit.ly/zmlFqY
- Barred Owl http://bit.ly/yAoDx8
- Great Gray Owl http://bit.ly/tAewYm
- Fun Facts on Owls http://bit.ly/z9q3Dg

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