Snowy Owl

Length : 22-28 inches / 55-70 centimeters
Weight : 2.25 - 5.5 pounds / 1-2.5 kilograms
Migration : Partial Migrant
Location : Circumpolar around Arctic
Status : Common

Arctic Animals - Snowy Owl Range


Arctic Animals - Snowy Owl Snowy Owl facts and figures

With a brilliant white plumage, the male snowy owl is one of the most visually distinctive owls on the planet and a favorite of owl fanciers world wide. Not only does the dense feathery plumage of this beautiful tundra animal cover the body and wings but it also extends down the length of the toes and partially covers the owl's bill. All this extra plumage gives the snowy owl optimum insulation from the cold arctic winds that sweep across the tundra. The adult male is virtually pure white, but females and young birds have some dark scalloping; the young are heavily barred, and dark spotting may even predominate.

Diet and hunting

The snowy owl is most active at dusk and dawn, spending most of the time on the ground or perched on low rocks. It's super sharp eyesight and hearing allows the snowy owl to locate it's prey from long distances and attack in an instant. What do snowy owl eat ? Prey consists mostly of lemmings, rabbits, hares and waterfowl. Like many tundra animals its reproductive cycle is closely linked to the availability of food during any breeding season. Populations of lemmings on the tundra tend to increase every 3-4 years and thus the number of snowy owl offspring show a corresponding increase in numbers.

Snowy owl predators

The main predators of the owls within the tundra food web are arctic foxes and on occasion arctic wolves and ermines all of which will readily take the owl's eggs or young. The adult owl is rarely attacked itself as it can easily fly away or use its talons for defense.

Nesting

The snowy owl nests on the tundra ground by forming a slight hollow in which the eggs are laid. The female will spend all her time raising and tending to the young while the male snowy owl hunts and provides food for both her and the young.

Of all the tundra animals the snowy owl has proven to be the most popular with animal lovers worldwide. This may be due in part to the role played by "Hedwig" the snowy owl of Harry Potter fame.