Relative size of great grey owl's body to feathers

Here's a diagram that shows the relative size of a great grey owl's body to its feathers. It's hosted on Wikimedia commons, labelled "Cross sectioned taxidermied Great Grey Owl, Strix nebulosa, showing the extent of the body plumage, Zoological Museum, Copenhagen."

File:Strix nebulosa plumage.jpg (via Beth Pratt)


  1. Reminds me of a cat coming out of the rain.  “THAT is all there was under that fur?”

    1. We shouldn’t need an MRI to find out what an owl looks like without feathers, someone could just pluck a dead one. But surprisingly, a google image search for “plucked owl” turns up nothing (none with the head plucked anyway)…I thought you could find everything on the internet!

        1. Cool, thanks. Looks fairly vulture-like, which made me wonder what one of the bigger-eyed species would look like w/o feathers…best I could find was this photo of a Milky Eagle Owl chick with just a light fuzz:

      1. You’re so silly.  So go pluck a dead one and post it if you want.  In the mean time, these are the images that are available.  And an MRI at that, how handy!   Does Google or someone else have to hold your hand for everything?

        1.  Just a cautionary note: I wouldn’t go pluck a dead owl, at least in the U.S. They’re protected species, and possessing one or any part of one (including feathers) without the appropriate permits could get you an unplanned visit from the local representative of your equivalent to Natural Resources Police, Fish & Game Commission, etc. Just as a word to the wise! :-)

          1. Not to mention West Nile Virus. Not that the fear of plague has ever stopped me from picking up dead things.

  2. Somehow knowing there’s something that looks kind of like a vulture makes owls even cooler to me.

    At least once a week I hear at least one owl, sometimes two, in my backyard. I’ll never forget the night I was home alone and thought I heard someone playing Inna Gadda Da Vida. I went outside to investigate and realized it was a great horned owl in the tree right in front of my house. I could see the outline of it against the night sky.

  3. Yeah but keep in mind it’s probably almost 3′ from end to end and  they have feet as big as your hands with talons long enough to staple a rabbit.  And they can fly while carrying something like 8 lbs.

    Wild animals are much much much bigger than you’d expect from looking at pictures. 

  4. So behind every beautiful owl hides an ugly vulture.. Wait, what is the moral of this story? Buy clothes that make you look good?

  5. Reminds me of an owl over in Texas (Houston, I think) which I read about awhile back. He’s part of some animal exhibit at a zoo or aquarium – something animal related – and has this peculiar need to be cuddled by whomever is holding him. I think this is him. Maybe somebody else can fill you in on the details.

    Anyway, that little guy is now the living incarnation of Beaky Buzzard to me. You can almost hear him laughing and going, “um, no no nope nope no, huh huh huh… “

    1. Wikipedia has this impressive list:
      White Owl, Silver Owl, Demon Owl, Ghost Owl, Death Owl, Night Owl, Rat Owl, Church Owl, Cave Owl, Stone Owl, Monkey-faced Owl, Hissing Owl, Hobgoblin or Hobby Owl, Dobby Owl, White-breasted Owl, Golden Owl, Scritch Owl, Screech Owl, Straw Owl, Barnyard Owl and Delicate Owl. “Golden Owl” might also refer to the related Golden Masked Owl (T. aurantia). “Hissing Owl” and, particularly in the USA, “screech owl”, referring to the piercing calls of these birds. The latter name, however, more correctly applies to a different group of birds, the screech-owls in the genus Megascops. The barn owl’s scientific name, established by G.A. Scopoli in 1769, literally means “white owl”, from the onomatopoetic Ancient Greek tyto(τυτο) for an owl—compare English “hooter”—and Latin alba, “white”.

    1. Creepy! The puffing-up is a pretty common trick, but turning into Dracula is not something I’ve ever seen a bird do.

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