Snowy Owl: With Facts and Statistics

Snowy Owl

Do you wish to know the fact and statistics of Snowy Owls? They’re large, all-white owls that are native to arctic regions in North America and Eurasia. They are easily recognizable by their round heads and yellow eyes. Snowy Owls are also one of the heaviest owls, with the average Snowy Owl weighing about 3.5 pounds.

The majesty of snowy owls captivates the imaginations of birdwatchers, environment enthusiasts, and photographers. Their dazzling white plumage and enormous wing span make them a sight to behold. We shall explore the interesting world of snowy owls.

In this article, we examined the facts and figures pertaining to snowy owls, investigated their nutrition, and found their habitat preferences.

Whether you are a garden enthusiast, a homeowner, or someone who likes the beauty of nature, this article will supply you with a lot of information about these amazing birds.

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Snowy Owl Facts and Statistics

Appearance and Characteristics

The snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus) is a huge and powerful member of the Strigidae family. Their dazzling white feathers, which shine out against the winter environment they their home, make them easy to identify. One of the most distinguishing characteristics of snowy owls is their bright eyes, which give superb hunting vision.

Male snowy owls average between 20 and 24 inches in length and 52 to 68 inches in wingspan. Females are slightly larger than males, reaching between 22 and 28 inches in length and sporting a wing span of 60 to 73 inches. Snowy owls are remarkably light despite their large size, weighing between 3.5 and 6.6 pounds on average.

Snowy Owl Facts and Statistics

Scientific NameSizeWeightLifespan (Wild/Captivity)DietHabitatConservation Status
Bubo scandiacus21-26 inches tall3-7 pounds10-15 years / up to 28 yearsLemmings, small mammals, birds (opportunistic)Arctic tundra, open grasslands, coastal areasVulnerable

Range and Migration

Snowy owls are native to the arctic regions of North America, Eurasia, and Europe. They breed in the tundra during the summer and move south for better hunting grounds during the winter. While some snowy owls may remain in their nesting areas year-round, others undergo long-distance migrations, sometimes journeying as far as southern Canada and the northern United States.

Lifespan and Reproduction

The snowy owl has a comparatively lengthy lifespan compared to other owl species. On average, they can live up to 9.5 years in the wild, but there have been reports of individuals reaching the age of 15. Snowy owls can live into their twenties in captivity, where they are shielded from environmental dangers and predators.

Snowy owls normally attain sexual maturity between the ages of two and three years. During the breeding season, which typically begins in May, the female owl lays 3-11 eggs in a shallow ground scrape. Both parents incubate the eggs for around 32 days, taking turns keeping them warm. The chicks are fed mice and small mammals until they are big enough to hunt on their own.

Snowy Owl Diet

Snowy owls are carnivores, and their diet primarily consists of lemmings. Lemmings are small rodents that are abundant in the Arctic tundra. Snowy owls will also eat other small mammals, such as hares, rabbits, and squirrels. They will also eat birds, such as ptarmigans, ducks, and geese.

Snowy owls are opportunistic feeders and will eat whatever prey is available. They are very good hunters and have excellent eyesight. Snowy owls can spot prey from a long distance and fly silently to sneak up on their prey.

Snowy owls typically hunt by perching on a high point and scanning the area for prey. Once they spot prey, they will swoop down and quickly catch it. Snowy owls have sharp claws and a powerful beak that they use to kill their prey.

These birds play an essential role in the Arctic ecosystem by helping control small mammals and bird populations. Snowy owls are also an important food source for other animals, such as foxes and wolves.

Snowy Owl Habitat

They are found in the Arctic tundra, open grasslands, and coastal areas. They prefer to live in open areas where they can easily spot prey. Snowy owls will build their nests on the ground or low cliffs.

Snowy owls are migratory birds and winter in areas further south. They will migrate to Canada, the northern United States, and Europe. Snowy owls will return to their breeding grounds in the Arctic in the spring.

Snowy owls are well-adapted to their cold environment. They have thick feathers that help to insulate them from the cold. Snowy owls also have large feet that help them to distribute their weight on the snow.

Snowy owls are an essential part of the Arctic ecosystem. They help to control the populations of small mammals and birds. Snowy owls are also a food source for other animals, such as foxes and wolves.

Climate change is a major threat to snowy owls. Climate change is affecting the Arctic tundra to melt, reducing the habitat available to snowy owls. Overhunting is also a threat to snowy owls. Snowy owls are hunted for their meat and feathers.

We can help protect snowy owls by minimizing our impact on the ecosystem and supporting conservation organizations working to protect them and their habitat.

Winter Habitat

During winter, snowy owls move from their Arctic breeding grounds to various food-rich locations. Some may go only a small distance, while others may travel on lengthy travels to southern Canada or even the northern United States. During their migration, snowy owls adapt to various environments, including grasslands, farmlands, coastal locations, and even airports.

Snowy owls have ample opportunities to identify prey from a distance in places with limited forest cover. They rely on their superior camouflage to blend in with their environment and wait patiently for possible prey to enter their field of vision.

Snowy Owl Conservation Status

The snowy owl is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. This is due to several factors, like habitat loss, climate change, and overhunting.

Habitat loss: Snowy owls rely on the Arctic tundra for breeding and wintering habitat. However, the Arctic tundra is melting due to climate change, reducing the habitat available to snowy owls.

Climate change: Climate change is also directly impacting snowy owls by making it more difficult for them to find food. Snowy owls primarily eat lemmings, small rodents abundant in the Arctic tundra. However, climate change is causing lemming populations to decline.

Overhunting: Snowy owls are also hunted for their meat and feathers. Overhunting is a particular threat to snowy owls in some parts of their range.

Other threats to snowy owls include collisions with vehicles and infrastructure and lead poisoning from eating lead-contaminated prey.

Conservation efforts are underway to help protect snowy owls and their habitat. For example, some conservation organizations are working to reduce the amount of lead in the environment and to prevent collisions between snowy owls and vehicles and infrastructure.

We can all help protect snowy owls by minimizing our environmental impact and supporting conservation organizations working to protect snowy owls and their habitat.

Here are some things you can do to help protect snowy owls:

  • Reduce your carbon footprint to help mitigate climate change.
  • Support organizations that are working to protect snowy owls and their habitat.
  • Avoid using lead-based products, such as lead fishing weights and lead bullets.
  • If you see a snowy owl, do not disturb it.
  • Contact a wildlife rehabilitator if you see a snowy owl injured or in distress.


Snowy owls are extraordinary birds that have captured the hearts and imaginations of people worldwide. From their spectacular look to their impressive hunting skills, they are a monument to the beauty and diversity of the natural environment. 

Snowy owls provide a unique and captivating experience for birdwatchers, nature enthusiasts, and anybody who enjoys the wonders of the animal realm. If you are fortunate enough to encounter one of these wonderful animals in the wild, take a moment to appreciate their grace and beauty. Remember that we are all responsible for conserving and preserving their habitat for future generations.

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Q. How Are Owls Adapted to Their Habitat?

A. Owls are adapted to their habitat in a number of ways, including:

  • Sharp vision: Owls have excellent vision, especially in low light conditions. This allows them to spot prey from a long distance, even in the dark.
  • Acute hearing: Owls have excellent hearing, which allows them to hear the slightest movement of their prey.
  • Silent flight: Owls have soft feathers that help them to fly silently. This allows them to sneak up on their prey without being detected.
  • Camouflage: Many owl species have camouflage plumage that helps them to blend in with their surroundings. This helps them to avoid predators and to hunt prey more effectively.
  • Sharp talons: Owls have sharp talons that they use to catch and kill their prey.

Q. Is a Snowy Owl a Carnivore?

A. Yes, a snowy owl is a carnivore. Snowy owls eat a variety of small mammals, such as lemmings, hares, rabbits, and squirrels. They will also eat birds, such as ptarmigans, ducks, and geese.

Q. Where Do Snowy Owls Sleep?

A. Snowy owls exhibit a versatile sleeping behavior, resting in various locations including the ground, trees, and cliffs. They often choose the ground for slumber, particularly in snow-covered regions. Trees become their sleep sanctuary, especially when they are rearing their young. In treeless areas, cliffs serve as their nighttime refuge. As nocturnal birds, snowy owls reverse the diurnal rhythm, sleeping during the day and embarking on their hunting ventures at night. In the Arctic ecosystem, they play a vital role in the populations of small mammals and birds while also serving as a source of sustenance for creatures like foxes and wolves.