Snowy Owl Facts and Information

Snowy Owl Fact File

Latin Name: Bubo scandiacus

Colour: Snowy owls have yellow eyes, black beaks and white feathers.

Length: 52 cm to 70 cm

Weight: 1.6 kg to 3 kg

Wingspan: 1.2 metres to 1.5 metres

Habitat: Arctic tundra – although they are sometimes attracted to other open spaces, such as coastal dunes and prairies.

Range: They can be found in north Alaska, Canada and the northern parts of Eurasia. They occasionally visit Shetland, the Cairngorns and the Outer Hebrides.

Other Facts About Snowy Owls

  • Snowy owls are one of the largest species of owl.
  • The male snowy owl is often pure white. The females and young are white with black markings.
  • Snowy owls make their nests at ground level, often on the top of a large boulder or rock.
  • The young snowy owls hatchlings are cared for by both parents.
  • Lemmings are their main food source, but their diet can vary quite a bit, particularly in winter. They can eat most small mammals, such as: rabbits, hares, rats, mole and marmots, and they also prey upon birds – pheasants and grouse, for example.
  • Each bird can eat more than 1500 lemmings every year.
  • They swallow their prey whole. The flesh is digested by their stomach acids, and the indigestible material – bones, teeth and fur – are regurgitated as pellets.
  • Snowy owls have few natural predators. They are most vulnerable during nesting season and they must defend their nests from animals such as arctic foxes and wolves.

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