• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Snowy Owl - BirdForum Opus

(Redirected from Bubo scandiacus)
Photo © by kidwings
Sauquoit, New York, March 2003
Bubo scandiacus

Nyctea scandiacus

Identification

L. 23-28 in (55–64 cm). W. up to 5 ft

  • White, with varying amounts of dark barring on its feathers.
  • Adult males can be pure white, while immature females show the most barring
  • Adult females and immature males are similar in appearance, but males are distinguished by a more extensive white bib and a mostly white nape
  • Bright golden eyes
  • Feathering on legs and feet
  • Talons and beak black

Distribution

Photo © by CurtMorgan
Argyle, New York, USA, December 2008

A circumpolar, holarctic species. Found in northern latitudes around the world. In winter, irrupts irregularly to more southerly latitudes every few years. In North America, it can be found slightly more consistently south to the northern US.

A long-staying pair bred in the Shetland Islands during the 1960's and '70s.

Taxonomy

This is a monotypic species[1].

Was formerly placed in its own genus Nyctea

Habitat

Juvenile
Photo © by earthimages
Wisconsin, USA, January 2009

Marshes, beaches, and other open areas, often seen on airport runways

Behaviour

Will often sit on the ground, rather than a perch.

Flight

Reminiscent of Common Buzzard but will also chase prey in a falcon-like manner.

Diet

In breeding season, predominantly lemmings. Breeding success often depends on the abundance of these rodents. An accomplished hunter. Known to take a wide variety of birds, including ptarmigan, shorebirds, songbirds, and waterfowl, which can even be captured in flight after a pursuit. Another favourite is rabbits and particularly snowshoe hare. Reported to even snag fish from water.

Breeding

The nest is a ground scrape.

In Culture

The Snowy owl was used in the Harry Potter series as the protagonist's pet and messenger. Snowies can be found in several books and movies, and many birders and non-birders alike have been captivated by their beautiful appearance.

References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Collins Pocket Guide to British Birds 1966
  3. Collins Field Guide 5th Edition
  4. Collins Bird Guide ISBN 0 00 219728 6

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.1

Back
Top