Snowy Owl

Bubo scandiacus

The Species

Snowy Owl (scientific name: Bubo scandiacus) is a large bird species of the Arctic, and has a conservation status of Vulnerable.

The male is white in color and gets whiter as it gets older, while the female is darker or mottled white. Usually found in the northern circumpolar region (Alaska, Canada, Greenland, northern Europe and Asia), this nomadic bird of prey has an average lifespan of 10 years. It has an impressive build, keen eyesight and remarkable hearing. It likes to eat lemmings, and an adult may eat as many as 1600 lemmings a year. It inhabits the open tundra and is a ground-nester, and may migrate depending on the availability of food.

Snowy Owl

Role in Ecology

Owls are carnivorous and help in maintaining the population of the animals (rodents and lemmings) they prey on. The populations of Snowy Owls and lemmings are interrelated, and provide clues about the health of the Arctic ecosystem.

Importance of Biodiversity

Biodiversity (or Biological Diversity) is a term that describes the variety of living beings on earth, and includes diversity across species, within species, and across ecosystems. It is vital to maintaining the balance of the ecosystem. According to scientific estimates there are 8.7 million species on the planet.

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