Do you know that Snowy Owl…

on 1st March 2017

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.

OwlSnowy [NeoNg]

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.

OwlSnowy [NeoNg]

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.

OwlSnowy [NeoNg]

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.

OwlSnowy [NeoNg]

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.

OwlSnowy [NeoNg]

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.

Neo Ng
Hong Kong
18th February 2017

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.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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