I am pleased to present my latest completed wildlife illustration: A Great Horned Owl.

– Class: Aves
– Order: Strigiformes
– Family: Strigidae
– Genus: Bubo
– Species: B. virginianus


This illustration of the head of a Great Horned Owl was completed on March 14, 2017. It is a part of a work still in progress (at the time of posting) that includes the entirety of the owl and the surrounding vegetation that it is perched in. As I worked on that piece, it occurred to me that the owl’s head made a nice image on its own without the remainder of the illustration. The drawing is based on a photo I took of a Great Horned Owl perched in a tamarisk tree near a nest site during a raptor nesting survey in Riverside County, California.


The Great Horned Owl is a widespread owl species found from Alaska to southern South America. Over most of its range, it is the nocturnal counterpart (from an environmental niche perspective) of the familiar Red-tailed Hawk. In fact, Great Horned Owls are also known to steal active Red-tailed Hawk nest sites. Their eyes are among the largest, proportionately, of all terrestrial vertebrates. The ear tufts are not actual ears, as the ears are located on the side of the head within the facial discs.

9 inches X 12 inches (full owl)

Pen and ink on paper (Staedtler pigment liner on Strathmore medium drawing paper)
Colored in Corel Painter Essentials 5.


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