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Snowy Owl
(Nyctea scandiaca)


    The Snowy Owl is circumpolar and can be found in
    Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Russia, and many areas
    north of the Arctic Circle.  It has a wide distribution area
    and will at times migrate to areas south of the Arctic
    Circle.  There have been reports of Snowy Owls in
    Ireland, China, and as far south as Texas and Georgia.


    Snowy Owls will most often feed on small rodents
    including lemmings and voles.  Rabbits are another
    staple of the Snowy Owl's diet.  The owls are
    opportunistic and will also feed on other types of birds
    such as ptarmigans as well as bird eggs of larger


    Snowy Owls will build their nests on the ground, typically
    in a higher place than the surrounding land so that they
    will have good visibility to predators and prey.     

Size and Description

    Snowy Owls are among the largest owls in the Arctic as
    well as North America.  They range from 1.75 - 2 feet in
    length and have a wingspan of 4.5 - 5.5 feet.  Snowy
    Owls are white with dark spots, and the amount of spots
    will vary from owl to owl.  Some Snowy Owls are virtually
    all white.  Snowy Owls have yellow eyes that are fixed in
    the eye socket, and they have the ability to move their
    heads approximately 270 degrees in both directions.  
    Snowy Owls have a thick layer of feathers on their body
    as well as their feet to enable them to survive in the


    Mating season for Snowy Owls can occur from April -
    June and sometimes throughout the summer.  The
    female Snowy Owl will lay between 2 - 14 eggs per
    clutch.  After the eggs are laid it will take between 4 - 5
    weeks for the eggs to hatch.  Both the male and female
    will tend to the nest until the young are ready to leave.  
IUCN Status:
Least Concern
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Strigiformes
Family: Strigidae
Genus: Nyctea
Species: scandiaca
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