Northern Hawk Owl

Surnia ulula




Barn Owls, Typical Owls (Tytonidae & Strigidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:


Number of Eggs:

3 - 13

Incubation Days:

25 - 30

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

10 - 40 feet above ground.

Nest Material:

Uses large cavities in trees and abandoned squirrel, crow, and hawk nests.No added materials.





Northern Hawk Owl: Medium-sized, slender owl with white-spotted brown upperparts and brown-barred white underparts. Gray facial disk is partially bordered by a thick, brown stripe that extends to upper breast; lacks ear tufts. Wings are long and relatively pointed. Tail is long and rounded. Sexes are similar.

Range and Habitat

Northern Hawk Owl: This species is a year-round resident across central and northern Canada and central and eastern Alaska. During winter months, there is some southward movement to the northernmost states from northeast Washington to Maine. This owl prefers edges of burns, open areas cleared by lumbering, and sparse woodlands.

Breeding and Nesting

Northern Hawk Owl: Three to thirteen white eggs are laid in an enlarged woodpecker hole, hollow in a stump, or abandoned raptor or crow nest. Incubation ranges from 25 to 30 days and is carried out by the female. Young can fledge at 25 to 35 days.

Foraging and Feeding

Northern Hawk Owl: Eats mostly voles and other small mammals; also takes birds, especially in winter; active during the day.


Northern Hawk Owl: Male advertisement call is a low "hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo", repeated 10 to 200 times, with one note every two to three seconds. Female responds with a raspy buzz and often duets with the male. When alarmed, barks "whek-WHEK-whek" or shrieks like a cat or "killy-killy-killy-killy." Both sexes hiss during exchange of prey or when alarmed.

Similar Species

Northern Hawk Owl: No other owls in range have a dark facial border extending to the upper breast. Has longer tail than other owls in ranage.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X