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Northern Hawk-owl

Surnia ulula
The Northern Hawk-Owl has a range that spreads across North America, Europe, and Asia, yet they are one of the least studied birds-of-prey out there. They live only in the far north, in remote areas, and a single bird can live quite far away from its nearest neighbor. So even though their three subspecies circle the Arctic, we are unsure of what their actual population size is!

What we do know about these birds is that, like many Owls, the females are slightly larger than the males. They are also, interestingly, diurnal. This of course breaks the stereotype of Owls hunting only at night!

When it comes to their meals, the Northern Hawk-Owls feed primarily on rodents and rabbits. Because the small mammal populations spike every couple of years, the Owl populations fluctuate as well. Years with fewer rabbits, for example, mean that the Owls have less to eat and both produce less offspring, and decrease from starvation.

At present, the Northern Hawk-Owl is listed as being of least concern. However, it is believed that their population is declining, though there is little concrete evidence to back it up. More effective monitoring must be done to both learn more about these birds, and to prevent any major conversation concerns.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : North America, Europe, Asia
Size : Body length up to 17in (43cm), Wingspan around 18in (45cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Strigiformes
Family : Strigidae -- Genus : Surnia -- Species : S. ulula
Image : BS Thurner Hof

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