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Snowy Owl

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Snowy Owl

Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Strigiformes
Family: Strigidae
Genus: Nyctea
Species: scandiaca
Binomial name
Nyctea scandiaca
The Snowy Owl, Nyctea scandiaca, is a large owl of the typical owl family Strigidae.

This is a circumpolar arctic breeding bird, adapted to its habitat by its white plumage and feathered legs. It nests on the ground on tundra or plateau with good visibility. It winters south through Canada and northernmost Eurasia, erupting further south in some years.

This species exceptionally bred in Shetland, Scotland, in the 1960s and 1970s, far south of its normal range.

This huge yellow-eyed white bird is unmistakable. The adult male is virtually pure white, but females and young birds have some dark scalloping.

This powerful bird primarily relies on lemmings and other rodents, but will take any other prey of a suitable size.

Although Sibley's North American Bird Guide, (ISBN 1-873403-98-4) suggests that only starving birds hunt during the day, this is not correct. Healthy Snowy Owls, like Short-eared Owls[?], will also hunt during the day, and in the nightless Arctic summers, they can hardly avoid being diurnal.

The snowy owl is the official bird of Quebec.

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