snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus), also know as arctic owl is great white owl It is a species of large, white owl with a rounded head and yellow eyes. He plumage of these birds varies from all white (some old males) to white with many dark bars and spots (particularly in females and young).

A snowy owl perched on a post.
A snowy owl perched on a post.

Features

Snowy owls are the largest bird species in the Arctic. They are between 63 and 73 cm long and have an average wingspan of 170 cm. The females are larger and heavier than the males. The females weigh from 1550 to 1600 grams and the males from 1450 to 1500 grams.

They are white with brown spots and bars. Females tend to be darker with more markings than males. Young owls are darker with more markings than adults. They have yellow eyes. Their legs are covered with white feathers that protect them from the cold.

What makes an owl fly silently?

The way that the feathers of the snowy owl have been created, made to fit perfectly, allows them to fly without making noise. The feathers on the leading edge of the wings of these wonderful birds break the air as they pass overhead, breaking the sound level so that when the owl flaps its wings it is almost silent. This is because the leading edge of the wings is frayed and can break the air, thus muffling the sound.

We appreciate the beautiful flight of a snowy owl
We appreciate the beautiful flight of a snowy owl

Behavior

The snowy owl usually sits on or near the ground in open areas. They often perch on elevations such as dune ridges, or on fence posts, telephone poles, and hay bales. When they fly they stay close to the ground.

Unlike most of the other species of owls, the snowy owl hunts mainly during the day. Snowy owls are highly nomadic and their movements are linked to the abundance of their main prey species, the lemingos. They have been known to aggressively defend their nests and attack those who disturb their nests.

Habitat

The snowy owl lives in the tundra open, generally from sea level to less than 300 m altitude. They can also inhabit lowland saline grasslands and poorly drained wet freshwater prairies, especially for hunting. When food is scarce, they travel south to warmer climates in winter. The most important winter habitat on the great plains is similar to their breeding habitat. In the south, they are frequent in towns and urban centers, as well as in marshes and dunes.

Distribution

Breeding range includes arctic tundras of the world: Aleutian Islands and northern Alaska, through Canadian Arctic Islands to northern Greenland, northern Scandinavia, northern Russia, southern Novaya Zemlya, and northern Siberia south to the limits of the tundra in Eurasia and the Commander Islands. Rarely in the British Isles.

Food

Snowy owls base their carnivorous diet mainly in mammals, from small rodents to large hares. They are also known to eat birds of sizes ranging from small songbirds to geese and medium-sized lemingos. An adult owl can eat three to five lemingos a day (1.600 a year).

Its local population is high when the population of lemingos they feed on is high and low when the population of lemingos they feed on is low.

They swallow small prey whole. Large prey such as hares are torn apart. The bones, teeth, feathers and skins that are eaten are not digestible; they compact and then regurgitate like balls. Because a snowy owl must eat up to a dozen mice Each day large amounts of vomit can accumulate around the hangers. Biologists interested in owl and small mammal ecology can extract bones from regurgitated balls to determine the number and type of prey captured by owls. Understanding the population dynamics of the prey helps scientists understand the predator.

The snowy owl is, unlike other owls, diurnal.
The snowy owl is, unlike other owls, diurnal.

Predators

The snowy owl is always very alert and aggressive. They will attack intruders in their nesting territory. However, the foxes and Wolves they take the chicks. The parasitic pike, a predatory bird, can take owl eggs and chicks.

The human they are probably the most important predator. Humans kill owls for food, trophies, and to protect game animals. In some areas of Alaska, snowy owls are legally hunted and killed for human consumption. A popular technique used is to set a trap to hold its legs on top of a pole in the middle of the flat tundra. To get a better hunting point of view, the owl lands on the pole and is easily caught.

Reproduction

Only females incubate the eggs. The male provides food for the female and the young. Young owls begin to emerge from the nest about 25-26 days after hatching. They are not able to fly well until at least 50 days of age. They continue to be fed by the parents for another 5 weeks after leaving the nest.

State of conservation

Although according to the IUCN red list it is an animal classified as Least Concern (LC), it is a legally protected animal in some areas and hunting them is considered a crime.

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