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Baby Snowy Owl

Yorkshire Dales Falconry Centre


Snowy Owl

Nyctea scandiaca


Description Large, pure white owl with black markings, females being more heavily marked than males. Very small ear tufts, often not visible and yellow eyes.

Size 52-66cm, 700-2950g

Range Circumpolar above latitudes of about 55°N. In winter birds range much further south sometimes even as far as Bermuda and Azores.

Habitat Arctic tundra.

Food Mainly mammals especially lemmings and hares also birds up to the size of ducks.

Breeding May-September, nest normally a scrape in the ground often on higher ground. 3 to as many as 11 eggs depending on amount of food available. Incubation 32 days, the young often leave the nest by 2 weeks, but cannot fly well until 7 weeks. Remain dependent on parents for a further 10 weeks.

Call Call a deep booming “kroo kroo”.

Status Not globally threatened. Numbers vary dependent on prey availability and in “lemming years” may be very common locally.

Comments Latest DNA evidence indicates that the Snowy Owl is very closely related to the Eagle Owls, particularly the Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus.

Races Monotypic.


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Taken on June 29, 2010