Great Grey Owls

Great Grey Owls

Meet someone great in size and in skill. We are home to male ‘Benjen’ and females ‘Arya’ and ‘Alysanne’, and Alysanne’s offspring, male ‘Strix’ and female ‘Nebulosa’.

Big yellow eyes piercing through the dark forest

It’s not called ‘great’ for nothing – great grey owls are among the tallest owls, though their thick plumage makes them look bigger than they really are. Even though its looks are deceptive, its offset ears and facial disc give it excellent hearing and make it a powerful hunter. Great grey owls are capable of short, hovering flights right before they dive into the snow for their prey – remarkably, they have been known to crash through snow that can hold an 80-kilogram person.


  • IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (at relatively low risk of extinction)
  • Type: Bird
  • Habitat: Forests and taiga regions across Canada, Alaska, and Europe
  • Diet: Carnivore – rodents, reptiles, and birds
  • Size: 24 to 33 inches, 54 to 60-inch wingspan
  • Weight: 700 to 1,700 grams
Great Grey Owls Great grey owl Great Grey Owls
Burrowing owl

Care & Conservation

Burrowing Owls

Our work in owl conservation doesn’t stop at the zoo. We work with Alberta’s ministry for Environment and Protected Areas and the Canadian Wildlife Service on a conservation program for the burrowing owl.
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facts about our animals

Fun Facts about Great Grey Owls

Great grey owls are monogamous.

Great grey owls can plunge through snow to capture prey a foot below the surface.

They have the largest facial disc of any raptor.

During courtship and egg incubation, males will feed females and the pair will preen each other’s feathers

Mothers may leave their young after they fledge, but fathers may remain and continue feeding their young for up to three months.

They do not build their own nests, but use nests created by squirrels and other birds.

Great Grey Owls


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