Snowy Owl: Large, white owl with variable black bars and spots. Head is round and without tufts, eyes are yellow, and bill is black. Female and juvenile are more heavily marked with black.
Range and Habitat
Snowy Owl: Found mainly in the tundra of North America; winters south to the northern U.S., sometimes driven by search for food as far south as Oklahoma, northern Alabama, and central California. Preferred habitats include lakeshores, marine coastlines, and marshes; may roost on buildings in cities and towns.
Breeding and Nesting
Snowy Owl: Three to eleven white eggs are laid in a ground nest on top of an elevated rise, mound, or boulder. May not nest during years when lemming numbers are low. Eggs are incubated for 31 to 34 days.
Foraging and Feeding
Snowy Owl: Feeds mainly on lemmings and voles, but takes whatever food is available. Usually hunts from an elevated perch during the day. Prey is captured on the ground, in the air, or snatched off the water surface.
Snowy Owl: Male makes a loud, booming "hoo, hoo" given as a territorial advertisement or mating call; female rarely hoots. Attack call is a guttural "krufff-guh-guh-guk"; when excited emits a loud "hooo-uh, hooo-uh, hooo-uh, wuh-wuh-wuh." Other sounds include dog-like barks, rattling cackles, shrieks, hissing, and bill snapping.
Snowy Owl: Barn Owl has brown eyes, pale bill, brown-tinged back, and heart-shaped facial disk. Short-Eared Owl is smaller and browner.