Snowy owl in exhibit

Snowy Owl

Scientific Name

Bubo scandiacus

Class

Aves

Order

Strigiformes

Range

Alaska, Greenland, Canada, Scandinavia, and Russia

Habitat

Open tundra and meadows

Estimated Wild Population

n/a
Snow owl in exhibit
IUCN Conservation Status: Vulnerable IUCN Conservation Status: Vulnerable

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Physical Description

Snowy owls have white plumage with occasional dark spots. These flying predators feed predominantly on lemmings and mice, but they also eat rabbits, birds, and fish. Although they hunt at night, they can locate prey visually or through their sharp sense of hearing. Females lay eggs in simple bowls scraped into the ground, and both males and females protect their young by dive-bombing nearby predators.

Interesting Fact 1

Snowy owls have strong talons and a sharp beak that help them tear apart their prey, such as mammals and small birds.

Interesting Fact 2

Their serrated flying feathers help muffle the sound of their flapping wings, enabling them to sneak up on their prey.

Interesting Fact 3

Their hearing is so acute that they can locate mammals under heavy vegetation or snow.

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Species Survival Plan®

We cooperate with other members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to manage the zoo population of this species through a Species Survival Plan®.

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Commitment to Care

Lincoln Park Zoo prioritizes individual well-being over everything else. Guided by scientific research, staff and volunteers work to provide the best welfare outcomes for each individual in the zoo’s care.

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The Wish List is full of one-of-a-kind items for the zoo’s animals, including nutritious snacks and enrichment items to keep them active and healthy. 

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Wildlife face many daunting challenges—some global, like planet-wide climate change, and some that affect individuals, like an animal ingesting plastic—but now is not the time to despair. None of these problems are too big for us to come together and solve.

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