Snowy Owl

Bubo scandiacus

Order

STRIGIFORMES

Family

Barn Owls, Typical Owls (Tytonidae & Strigidae)

Code 4

SNOW

Code 6

BUBSCA

ITIS

ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Snowy Owl may be found in the northern circumpolar region. It is a nomadic species, following its sources of food to determine its homeland. This species lives north of 60 degrees latitude in the summer, but has been known to breed in southern regions. Nests are scrapes built on the ground, and abandoned eagle nests may be used. Winter months are spent in Canada and Eurasia, and have been spotted as far south as Texas, Georgia and even the Caribbean. Diets typically consist of lemmings and rodents, but may also feed on young ptarmigan. The conservation rating for the Snowy Owl is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

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BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Snowy Owl: Large, white owl with variable black bars and spots. The head is round and lacks tufts, eyes are yellow, and the bill is black. Feathered feet and toes provide protection from the arctic cold. Direct flap-and-glide flight with powerful, deep wingbeats. North America's only all-white owl.

 

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.

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Snowy Owl SONGS AND CALLS

Snowy Owl 2

Female calls during the breeding season.

Snowy Owl 3

Series of harsh hisses.

Similar Sounding


Voice Text

"hoo-hoo", "kruff-guh-guh-guk", "hooo-uh, hoo-uh, wuh-wuh-wuh"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • Snowy Owls have feathers on their feet to provide extra protection from the severe cold of the Arctic.
  • They are white because of a lack of pigment in their feathers. This leaves more room for air, which increases the insulating ability of the feathers.
  • Unlike most owls, the Snowy Owl has the ability to hunt during the day. This is due to the fact that it does not get dark during the summer months in the Arctic.
  • A group of owls has many collective nouns, including a "bazaar", "glaring", "parliament", "stooping", and "wisdom" of owls.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP NORTH AMERICA

About this North America Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across North America.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Michael Oberhofer

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