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Snowy Owl

"Margaret"

Margaret got her name when she was an owlet as she looked like our Great Aunt Margaret with a blue rinse! Snowy Owl chicks are grey and fluffy when they are born and only later turn into this beautiful white owl. Margaret is a female Snowy owl so will always keep her black spots, only the male owls turn pure white and this is one of the only times we see sexual dimorphism in owls. Margaret was born in 2017, so is still a baby, however she is full grown already and weighs over 1500g. She is very stubborn and naughty and has recently found her voice - so noisy too!   

 

SNOWY OWL FACTS

Bubo scandiacus

  

TERRITORY/LOCATION

Snowy owls are native to Arctic regions in North America and Eurasia. They winter south through Canada and northern Eurasia, with irruptions occurring further south in some years. Between 1967 and 1975, snowy owls bred on the remote island of Fetlar in the Shetland Isles north of Scotland. Females summered as recently as 1993, but their status in the British Isles is now that of a rare winter visitor to Shetland, the Outer Hebrides and the Cairngorms.

HABITAT

The Snowy Owl is a bird of Arctic tundra or open grasslands and fields. They rarely venture into forested areas. During southward movements they appear along lakeshores, marine coastlines, marshes, and even roost on buildings in cities and towns. In the Arctic, they normally roost on pingaluks (rises in the tundra).

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

DIET

Snowy owl are diurnal and hunt during the day and night,

This powerful bird relies primarily on lemmings and other small rodents for food during the breeding season. They are opportunistic hunters and prey species may vary considerably, especially in winter. They feed on a wide variety of small mammals but will take advantage of larger prey like hares, rats, rabbits. Each bird must capture roughly 7 to 12 mice per day to meet its food requirement and can eat more than 1,600 lemmings per year.

SIZE/WEIGHT

It is 52–71 cm long, with a 125–164cm wingspan. Also, these owls can weigh anywhere from 1134-2000g. Females are larger and heavier than males.

NESTING

They mate for life unless one of the pair gets killed, when a new pair bond may be formed. Breeding takes place at varying times of year according to locality, with a clutch, averaging about 4 eggs, being laid in a nest in a hollow tree, old building or fissure in a cliff.

  

LIFE EXPECTANCY

9.5 years old in the wild

28 years old in captivity

SCIENTIFIC

CLASSIFICATION

KINGDOM

Animalia

PHYLUM

Chordata

CLASS

Aves

ORDER

Strigiformes

FAMILY

Striigidae

GENUS

Bubo

SPECIES

B. scandiacus

DID YOU KNOW?

There is only an estimated 257,000 Snowy Owls left in the wild. Snowy Owls are endangered because when their main food source, lemmings, has a low population these rare birds fly south.

The British Bird Of Prey Centre

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Birds of Prey