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.