Snowy Owl (Nyctea scandiaca) are found mainly in the Arctic tundra region. They perch on short posts or on the ground patiently looking for prey like lemmings, rabbits and birds. Below are some interesting aspects of its behaviour, illustrated by images by Neo Ng.
1. The male must work extra hard during the incubation period that can last up to 30 days or more. This is because the female lays up to 15 eggs at intervals of two days. Only when the last egg is hatched will she participate in the feeding of the chicks.
2. Snowy owls routinely hunt by day and night. Other species hunt by night and only when they are hungry do they hunt during the day.
3. This owl has a densely feathered coat to protect it from the rigorous cold of the arctic habitat. Even its legs and feet are covered with feathers.
4. Males are all white or with narrow and sparse pale grey or brown barring on the back. Females are not all white. The back, breast and tail are barred and spotted with dark brown; the head, face and shoulders are mostly white but with small black dots all over.
5. Threat call – hiss, mews almost like a cat, clacking her beak.
6. Owl eyes are considered to have magical properties. They are dried and ground into powder and used to cure many diseases. The price for the eyes depends on their size and Snowy Owl eyes are among the most prized. In addition to eyes, the feathers and bills are also sought for their power to ward off evil. Because almost all owl species are not endangered, trade in their parts continued unabated throughout the world.
18th February 2017
1. Chantler, P., 1999b. Family Apodidae (Swifts). In del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott & J. Sargatal (eds.), Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. 5. Barn-owls to hummingbirds. Lynx Editions, Barcelona. Pp.388-457
2. Lawrence, R. D. (2001). Owls; the silent fliers. – Revided Edition. Firefly Books, United States.
This post is a cooperative effort between Birds, Insects N Creatures Of Asia and BESG to bring the study of birds and their behavior through photography and videography to a wider audience.