Snowy owl have a large assortment of common names that include Arctic owls, great white owls, ghost owls, tundra ghost, harfang, Scandinavian nightbirds and highland tundra owl.
Ready for Liftoff
Snowy owls cannot move their eyes. To see their surroundings, snowy owls rely on their highly flexible necks which are able to turn up to 270 degrees in either direction.
Males are generally whiter than females. As males grow older, they get whiter. The females never become completely white - remaining brownish with darker markings.
The feathers of snowy owls have no pigment, leaving more space for air which helps them to keep warmer because air is such a good insulator.
Kicking Up Snow
The breeding range of the snowy owl is circumpolar, ranging across the northern regions of Greenland, Scandinavia, Alaska and Canada.
Thanks in part to the thick feathers needed for insulation, snowy owls are the heaviest owl species in North America typically weighing between 3.5 to 6.5 lbs
Snowy owls swallow small prey such as lemmings whole. Indigestible parts of animals, like bones and fur, are compacted into pellets that the owls regurgitate up to 24 hours after eating.
Although snowy owls can reach a speed of 80 km/h (50 mp/h), they are generally more known for their silent flight rather than their high speed.
Flaps Fully Deployed
The snowy owl wingspan ranges between 4.2 to 4.8 feet. Females are about 20% bigger than males.
I See You
Snowy Owls are diurnal which means that unlike most other owls they hunt during the day and night. The long summer days in the Arctic means snowies have no other choice and must hunt in the daylight.
Look Into My Eyes
Snowy owl legs and toes are heavily feathered to protect them from the harsh weather in cold arctic regions.
Harfang des Neiges
The snowy owl is the official bird of Quebec, Canada. Known locally as "Harfang des Neiges".
Experts estimate the global snowy owl population at roughly 200,000 to 300,000 with nearly half in North America.
Snowy owl pairs usually mate for life. Females lay from 3 to 11 eggs at a time in a nest on the ground. When there is plenty of food available, snowy owls tend to lay more eggs than when food is scarce.
Snowy Spiral Wings
The segregated edges on snowy owl flight feathers cut noise produced by wing flapping, which help the owls go undetected by potential prey.
From Other Birds