Snowy Owl Fact Sheet

Common Name:

Snowy Owl

Scientific Name:

Bubo scandiacus

Wild Status:



Arctic Tundra


Northern US


Arctic Tundra

Life Span:

9 years wild. 28 years Captivity


2.4 feet. 4.5 pounds

Cool Facts:

  • Because Snowy Owls require more insulation than most owls, they possess extra feathers, making them the heaviest owl species in North America.
  • Their feet are also covered in feathers to help keep them warm in the Arctic climates.
  • Male Snowy Owls are completely white, While females possess a dark bar pattern on their feathers.
  • Unlike most owls that are nocturnal. Snowy Owls are diurnal.


Snowy owls are mostly white. Males are almost completely white while females possess brown bars and spots. They have golden color eyes and dark colored bills. They are among the largest owl species of North America. Unlike most other owl species, snowy owls hunt mainly in the daytime. Snowy owls are highly nomadic and their movements are tied to the abundance of their primary prey species, lemmings. They are known to aggressively defend their nests and will attack those that disturb their nests. Their diet consists of mostly mammals, from rodents to large hares, and occasionally smaller birds.  

Taxonomic Breakdown:

Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Aves Order: Strigiformes Family: Strigidae Genus: Bubo Species: B. Scandiacus  

Conservation & Helping:

After being considered of least concern by the ICUN since 1988, the snowy owl was upgraded to a conservation status of  vulnerable in 2017. Previous population estimates of about 200,000 individuals are now regarded as substantially overestimated, and a total population size of 28,000 individuals is thought to be more realistic

For Teachers and Educators


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