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The snowy owl is a distinctive large white bird from the owl family. This type of owl is native to Arctic regions located in North America and parts of Eurasia.
See the fact file below for more information on the snowy owl or alternatively, you can download our 26-page Snowy Owl worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
Habitat, Anatomy, and Life Cycle
- Scientific Name: Bubo scandiaca
- Common Name: Snowy owl
- Type: Bird
- Group Name: Solitary
- Diet: Carnivores
- Average Lifespan in the wild: 10 years
- Average Size: Body, 20 to 28 in
- Wingspan: 4.2 to 4.8 ft
- Average Weight: 3.5 to 6.5 lbs
- Conservation Status: Least concern
- Snowy owls are commonly found in the cold northern regions of Canada and arctic tundras found in Greenland, Russia, and Scandinavia.
- They are the largest among the species of owls found in Northern America. With white feathers covering their whole body, snowy owls can blend in with and survive in arctic surroundings easily.
- Unlike most owls, snowy owls have small, golden, round eyes. Aside from brilliant white feathers, they can be distinguished by their narrow, sparse brown bars and spots in their wings. Their toes and claws are also thickly covered with feathers.
- Snowy owls have short, strong, sharply pointed, dark colored beaks. They are carnivores, meaning they prey on mammals like small rodents, birds, and lemmings. Unlike other meat-eating birds, snowy owls do not scavenge for food – they hunt and kill their prey.
- A male snowy owl has feathers that are whiter with fewer brown bars and spots along. On the other hand, females are larger in size and darker in color.
- Snowy owls have round bodies which can adapt to extremely cold climates. Their thick plumage, which can weigh up to 4 pounds, helps to maintain body heat. Moreover, they have soft wings which enable silent flight when attacking prey.
- They are patient predators, flying up to 30 miles per hour, and prefer open spaces of land rather than the mountainous regions in the tundras.
- During breeding season, females can lay 3 to 11 eggs. Eggs are protected in nests usually built on the ground or around boulders.
- Eggs are incubated for 32 days by the females, while the clutch size varies depending on availability of food.
- After 25 to 26 days after hatching, youngs begin to leave the nests but are still fed by their parents until 5 weeks. Youngs learn to fly after at least 50 days of age.
- They are also known as the Arctic owl or the Great white owl.
- Unlike other species of owls, snowy owls have flexible neck that can rotate up to 270 degrees. This is their adaptation for having smaller eyes than common owls. They are diurnal, meaning active during both the day and night especially at dusk and dawn (crepuscular).
- Snowy owls prefer to live alone except during breeding season. Males assist females in nesting and chick rearing. Despite being nomadic and staying in treeless environments, snowy owls tend to be extremely territorial during mating season to protect their eggs and hatchlings.
- During incubation of eggs, females sit on the eggs while males provide food.
- When hunting, they do the watch-and-wait technique using their highly developed sense of sight and hearing.
- Snowy owls conserve energy by doing short flights that are low to the ground.
- During winter in the northern hemisphere, snowy owls migrate as far as southern Scotland. They are more active during summer because prey are in breeding season.
- Due to high consumption of food like rodents, they naturally control the number of rodents in the Arctic tundra environment.
- While males get whiter as they age, females retain their dark spots throughout their lives to camouflage for the next breeding season.
Other Snowy Facts
- Experts suggest that there are roughly 200,000 to 300,000 snowy owl living in the Arctic, of which almost half are located in North America.
- Arctic foxes, wolves, and wild dogs are among their few predators.
- The Snowy owl is the official bird of Quebec in Canada.
- The sudden massive interest on snowy owls as pets is because of the Harry Potter movies. However, they have been known to do dive-bombs to attack humans.
- In Northern America, trapping and shooting of snowy owls in protected areas are prohibited. Despite having remote breeding areas away from human disturbances, climate change is among the greatest threat to the snowy owl population.
- Due to their unique appearance, snowy owls are hunted down by humans and then mounted as trophies. Moreover, some cultures eat their meat as a delicacy and use their feathers for clothing.
Snowy Owl Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about snowy owl across 26 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Snowy Owl worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the snowy owl which is a distinctive large white bird from the owl family. This type of owl is native to Arctic regions located in North America and parts of Eurasia.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Snowy Owl Facts
- Arctic Owl
- What an Owl Life
- Food Web
- Snowy Photo Off
- I am an Owl
- Owly Things
- Mapping Bubo Scandiacus
- Harry’s Pet
- The Ookpik
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Link will appear as Snowy Owl Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, September 27, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.