Snowy Owl
Classification

Kingdom:

Phylum:

Class:

Order:

Family:

Genus:

Species:

Animalia

Chordata

Aves

Strigiformes

Strigidae

Nyctea

scandiaca
IUCN Status: Least Concern
Mouseover map to view the Snowy Owl's
approximate summer habitat.
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Information


    Located

    The Snowy Owl is circumpolar and can be found in Alaska, Canada,
    Greenland, Russia, and many areas north of the Arctic Circle.  It has a
    wide distribution area and will at times migrate to areas south of the
    Arctic Circle.  There have been reports of Snowy Owls in Ireland,
    China, and as far south as Texas and Georgia.

    Diet

    Snowy Owls will most often feed on small rodents including lemmings
    and voles.  Rabbits are another staple of the Snowy Owl's diet.  The
    owls are opportunistic and will also feed on other types of birds such
    as ptarmigans as well as bird eggs of larger birds.     

    Habitat

    Snowy Owls will build their nests on the ground, typically in a higher
    place than the surrounding land so that they will have good visibility to
    predators and prey.     

    Size and Description

    Snowy Owls are among the largest owls in the Arctic as well as North
    America.  They range from 1.75 - 2 feet in length and have a wingspan
    of 4.5 - 5.5 feet.  Snowy Owls are white with dark spots, and the
    amount of spots will vary from owl to owl.  Some Snowy Owls are
    virtually all white.  Snowy Owls have yellow eyes that are fixed in the
    eye socket, and they have the ability to move their heads
    approximately 270 degrees in both directions.  Snowy Owls have a
    thick layer of feathers on their body as well as their feet to enable them
    to survive in the tundra.       

    Reproduction

    Mating season for Snowy Owls can occur from April - June and
    sometimes throughout the summer.  The female Snowy Owl will lay
    between 2 - 14 eggs per clutch.  After the eggs are laid it will take
    between 4 - 5 weeks for the eggs to hatch.  Both the male and female
    will tend to the nest until the young are ready to leave.  
Notes

  • Snowy Owls are known by other names including the Great White Owl, Ghost Owl, Ermine Owl and Arctic Owl.
  • Snowy Owls, like other owls, will often eat their prey whole, and will then regurgitate the indigestible parts in the
    form of a pellet.   
  • Snowy Owls are also described as the genus and species Bubo scandiacus as they are related to Horned
    Owls. They are currently the only members of the genus Nyctea.
(Nyctea scandiaca)
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