Snowy owl is an active predator. There are more than 150 species of owls in the world, and some counts indicate more than 220 species depending on how different owls are classified. During the rest of the year, this nomadic bird regularly ranges from latitudes corresponding to Canada's southern border to the Arctic sea ice. Because of the above two snowy owl facts, these birds are easily identifiable amongst other species. The female snowy owl is slightly larger than the male of the species. Until recently, snowy owls were the only member of the genus Nyctea but recent molecular studies showed snowy owls to be close relatives of the horned owls. Do not attempt to capture or help the owl yourself. Females store food the male has brought to the nest, generally in a wreath-like formation around the nest. A male snowy owl once attacked a dog that followed an ornithologist to check a nest in one account. This speckling offers superb camouflage and enables juveniles and females to blend well with the summertime colors and textures of the tundra's vegetation. Snowy owls prefer windswept locations with a view. A snowy owl hunts, mostly sitting on the ground, preferably on a raised platform, and rushing at the approaching prey. Snowy Owls Nest Directly on the Ground, Winning Photos From the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition, Who Said That? Occasionally they will hunt for other small animals such as voles, arctic hares, or even small birds. Read on to discover more about this distinctive Arctic predator… All About Snowy Owls: Meet A Distinctive Arctic Predator. Many owl species have asymmetrical ears. Unlike other owls, Snowy Owls are not nocturnal, and can be seen hunting any time of the day and/or … Typically the stock is 10-15 items, but scientists have recorded as many as 83 carcasses. During normal years, snowy owls remain in the northernmost parts of Alaska, Canada, and Eurasia. Snowy owls also produce a low-pitched hoot that carries through the air for long distances and can be heard as much as 10 kilometers away. It is sometimes also referred to, more infrequently, as the polar owl, white owl and the Arctic owl. During the breeding season, snowy owls inhabit the Arctic Circle tundra. During the breeding season, which snowy owls spend in the Arctic, they nest on small rises in the tundra where the female carves out a scrape or shallow depression in the ground in which to lay her eggs. The main difference between the two can be seen in the shapes of their faces. In fact, it's been reported that they can dive into nearly 8 inches of snow to capture a vole. The Snowy Owl is truly a beautiful creature and unique in the owl … They primarily hunt by perching on a pole or fence post in an otherwise empty area. Because of this, their local numbers rise and fall with that of the lemming population. Sharp talons (claws) are used to grab prey. There are about 290,000 Snowy Owls in the world today. Like most owls, they have excellent distance eyesight. The ghost like snowy owl has unmistakable white plumage that echoes its Arctic origins.. There are approximately 200,000 snowy owls in North America. These facts may help clear up a bit of their mystery and reveal what a hoot owls really are. Males make a barking kre or krek-krek call. The IUCN Red List lists the snowy owl as vulnerable, so we may run out of opportunities to see their majesty. The plumage of an adult male snowy owl is mostly white with few dark markings. They venture into forests only on very rare occasions, if ever. Melissa Breyer is Treehugger’s editorial director. The greatest owl diversity is found in Asia, and only 19 owl species are found in the United States and Canada. During times of lemming population booms, they can raise double or triple their usual brood. During the breeding season, snowy owls are a bit more vocal. But in good years when prey such as lemmings is abundant, they lay as many as 14 eggs per clutch. The snowy owl is a patient hunter that perches and waits to identify its prey before soaring off in pursuit. The snowy owl has yellow eyes. Like other horned owls, snowy owls have ear tufts but they are small and usually kept tucked away. Well, that’s it for our facts about owls: This majestic bird is not only world-renown for it’s hunting abilities, night time flying and distinctive “hoot hoot” sound but it’s also regarded as a symbol of wisdom and luck in certain cultures. The bird is 52 to 71 cm (20 to 28 in) long. Females and young owls have a sprinkling of darker feathers that form spots or bars over their wings, breast, upper parts and the back of their head. Other sounds snowy owls make include hissing, bill snapping and a clapping sound believed to be created by clicking the tongue. Scientists speculate this behavior is related to predator avoidance or a sibling rivalry. As a result, snowy owls are nomadic birds and go wherever there are ample food resources at any particular time. They mature over the course of two years, at which point they weigh approximately 4.5 pounds. The term night owls came to be due to the nocturnal habits of most owls. ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. Snowy owls have an abundance of feathers to keep them warm, which adds to their weight of around 4 pounds. This thick feathering makes snowy owls the heaviest owl species in North America; they're a pound heavier than a great horned owl and double the weight of North America's tallest owl, the great gray owl. Fact 1: The Snowy Owl is a member of the ‘white owl’ family, and it’s known for its pure white plumage. With their white feathers, yellow eyes, and impressive wingspan, it is no surprise that they capture the imagination and attention wherever they go. Occasionally they will hunt for other small animals such as voles, arctic hares, or even small birds. While breeding areas are usually far away from human interference, climate change is impacting the snowy owl's Arctic habitat; the number of these birds is on the decline. Owls are intriguing birds that easily capture the attention and curiosity of birders. 13. Weight ranges from just under 1.6 to 3 kg (3.5 to 6.6 lb).. But in seasons when prey is not abundant in the northern stretches of their range, snowy owls move further southward. Feeding: The snowy owl is a bird of prey and only eats animals that it hunts and kills—it does not scavenge like many other carnivorous birds.Snowy owls mainly eat lemmings (as many as 5 per day!)

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