This owl is named for its most distinctive feature — large, wide-set ear tufts or ‘horns’ that give its head a cat-like shape. Females are larger than males, and the sexes look alike. The head is large, with feathering across the forehead that shades the yellow eyes into a fierce expression. The body is broad and bulky, the tail is short, and the talons are large and very strong. The wingspan of this owl is comparable to the wingspan of a large hawk. The largest of North American owls with ear tufts, and one of the largest owls on the continent, this owl is a fierce-looking predator. Four subspecies of Great Horned Owl are based on regional color differences ranging from very dark to very pale birds; there are also many intermediate types. [Lorax] The Pacific subspecies (very dark overall), is the one most commonly seen in western Oregon; the other three subspecies are the West Taiga (pale gray), the Southwest (darker gray), and the Eastern (tawny-orange face). This owl is swift and graceful in flight, moving with stiff, steady wing beats, with wings held mostly below horizontal; flight speeds up to 40mph have been recorded.