<< Previous Next >>

Bubo scandiacus

Bubo scandiacus
Photo Information
Copyright: Mircea Costina (mirceax) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 229 W: 49 N: 1356] (6261)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-03-11
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D50, Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG Macro
Exposure: f/6.3, 1/2000 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Owls, Master hunters!, Snowy Owls (Bubo scandiacus) [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-03-13 15:36
Viewed: 3607
Points: 26
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
The Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) is a large owl of the typical owl family Strigidae. It is also known in North America as the Arctic Owl or the Great White Owl. Until recently, it was regarded as the sole member of a distinct genus, as Nyctea scandiaca, but mtDNA cytochrome b sequence data (Olsen et al. 2002) shows that it is very closely related to the horned owls in the genus Bubo.

This yellow-eyed white bird is easily recognizeable. It is 53-65 cm (20-26 inches) long with a 125-150 cm (50-60 in) wingspan. The adult male is virtually pure white, but females and young birds have some dark scalloping; the young are heavily barred, and dark spotting may even be predominate. Its thick plumage, heavily-feathered feet, and coloration render the Snowy Owl well-adapted for life north of the Arctic Circle.

Snowy Owl calls are varied, but the alarm call is a barking, almost quacking krek-krek-krek-krek; the female also has a softer mewling pyee-pyee-pyee-pyee or prek-prek-prek. The song is a deep repeated gawh. They may also clap their beak in response to threats or annoyances. While called clapping, it is believed this sound may actually be a clicking of the tongue, not the beak.

The Snowy Owl is typically found in the northern circumpolar region, where it makes its summer home north of latitude 60 degrees north. However, it is a particularly nomadic bird, and because population fluctuations in its prey species can force it to relocate, it has been known to breed at more southerly latitudes. During the last ice age, there was a Central European paleosubspecies of this bird, Bubo scandiacus gallicus, but subspecies are not recognized among the living population.

This species of owl nests on the ground, building a scrape on top of a mound or boulder. A site with good visibility, ready access to hunting areas, and a lack of snow is chosen. Gravel bars and abandoned eagle nests may be used. Breeding occurs in May, and depending on the amount of prey available, clutch sizes range from 5 to 14 eggs, which are laid singly, approximately every other day over the course of several days. Hatching takes place approximately five weeks after laying, and the pure white young are cared for by both parents. Both the male and the female defend the nest with their young from predators. Some stay on the breeding grounds while others migrate.

Snowy Owls winter south through Canada and northernmost Eurasia, with irruptions occurring further south in some years. They have been reported as far south as Texas, Georgia, the American Gulf states, southern Russia, northern China and even the Caribbean. Between 1967 and 1975, Snowy Owls bred on the remote island of Fetlar in the Shetland Isles north of Scotland, UK. Females summered as recently as 1993, but their status in the British Isles is now that of a rare winter visitor to Shetland, the Outer Hebrides and the Cairngorms.


Pentaxfriend, timonejoon, angela926, jpinkham, rcrick, JPlumb, SkyF, Tamrock, CeltickRanger has marked this note useful
Only registered TrekNature members may rate photo notes.
Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
Only registered TrekNature members may write critiques.
You must be logged in to start a discussion.

Critiques [Translate]

Hi Mircea,

Beautiful inflight shot pf this Beautiful bird
Excellent compo with perfect colors
Superb sharpness, details, and blue BG

TFS Thijs

Hi Mircea,

Great shot! Nice composition and color.



Hi Mircea

Nice sharp shot just after it take off, nice composition with excelent exposure.
well done
PS: Allow me to add to my theme.thanx.

Hello Mircea,
Fantastic capture, beautiful colors and superb contrast, the blue background is lovely and really makes the white stand out. excellent compositon and pov, superb sharpness and perfect depth of field, outstanding!

Wow, another snowy owl, and in full flight, too! Excellent exposure and depth of field. nicely framed, and very well composed within the frame. The full wing span and the snow falling off the bird in its ascent are both excellent elements of this fine photo.

Hi Mircea,
Wonderful in-flight shot of this beautiful Owl, stunning detail and excellent colours, amazing detail right down to the flecks of snow, perfect background too, all the best Cheers Rick :)

  • Great 
  • JPlumb Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 618 W: 158 N: 896] (2904)
  • [2008-03-13 23:47]

Hi Mircea, this is another great shot of the snowy owl, in perfect position against a great backdrop with that sky. I especially like how you've caught the kicked up snow and those talons as he took off. The textures found on that snow is very good, as they are on the bird.

Thanks, John

  • Great 
  • SkyF Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2234 W: 188 N: 1912] (8073)
  • [2008-03-14 4:02]

Hello Mircia,
great shot, i like the POV a lot. Great DOF to get perfect sharpness from wing tip to tip. Very detailed and wonderful sharp.

hi mircea!
A very nice capture with good
sharpness and fine exposure!

salut Mircea

superbe image au décollage de l'Harfang des neiges,
excellent contraste entre le beau ciel bleu, la belle neige blanche
et le beau plumage de l'harfang, excellent POV et j'adore son
contact visuel du coin de l'oeil avec toi, TFS


  • Great 
  • jossim Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1538 W: 5 N: 2240] (12636)
  • [2008-03-15 4:18]

Bonjour Mircea,

Superbe prise,l'oiseau est bien figé et les détails sont extras.

  • Great 
  • rdfoto Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 372 W: 0 N: 719] (3295)
  • [2008-03-15 15:04]

Bonjour Mircea
Très belle capture, excellentes couleurs et détails, j'adore, bravo
Amicalement Robi

nice composition with the pose captured, the snow and the blue sky, exposure is perfect :))

Calibration Check