Snow owl is from the typical owl family mostly white with narrow brown spots and bars. It has small golden eyes and thickly covered toes and claws at feathers. Snow owl has dark colored sharply pointed bills. It included among the largest North American species of owls. In Eurasia and North America, white owls are instinctive to Arctic regions. Males are purely white in color while females have black spots on feathers. Snowy owls are mostly hunted by rodents because they are ground nesters.
In 1758, Linnaeus described about snowy owls in his landmark 10th edition named Systema Naturae. In which he was given the binomial name “Strix scandiaca”. The name of genus is Bubo that is used for Eurasian eagle-owl in Latin. With age, snowy owls drop their black feathers while female individuals may keep some.
Snow owl has many distinctive features. These are:
- This white bird is easily recognized with his yellow eyes and black beak.
- It is 52–71 cm (20–28 in) long.
- Snow owl is listed among the largest species of owls.
- It has wingspans about 125–150 cm (49–59 in).
- Snowy owl is having a weight from 1.6 to 3 kg (3.5 to 6.6 lb.) anywhere.
- In a wild, it has average lifespan of 9.5 years.
- In North America, snowy owl is including among the heaviest owl species.
- Females and their offspring are having some dark spots while male has no spots and is purely white in color.
- Young having dark spotting and are heavily barred.
- It is having heavily feather feet.
- Snow owls have varied calls but the alarming call is mostly barking.
- Females have softer voice like pyee-pyee or prek-prek.
- In response to annoyances or threats, they clap their beak.
ECOLOGY AND HABITAT:
Mostly in the northern circumpolar region, the snowy owl is characteristically found. In this region, they make their homes. These owls are known as predominantly nomadic birds. They made their nests on ground therefore having the great threat of prey. That’s why they relocate to southerly latitudes for breeding. After the Bubo scandiaca, no more recent subspecies are renowned. They choose the site where the visibility is good such as the top of hill and the areas that have a lack of snow. The nests of abandoned eagles and Gravel bars are used. Before laying eggs, females scrape a small hollow. Their breeding season occurs to May to June. Over the course of several days, 3 to 11 eggs are laid singly. After five weeks of lying, hatching takes place. Both males and female guard their young ones from predators. With two females, one male may mate.
DIET AND HUNTING:
During their breeding season, they mostly rely on rodents. They are the hunters but opportunistic. Generally, they feed on small mammals like deer, mice and meadow voles. Large mammals include squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, hares, muskrats, marmots, rats and moles. They hint at the style of “sitting and wait”. They swallow their whole prey like other carnivorous birds. Roughly 7 to 12 mice per day are captured by each bird. They hunt during the day therefore they are known as diurnal.