1172. Nyctea scandiaca.
The Snowy Owl.
Strix scandiaca and S. nyctea, Linn. Syst. Nat. i, p. 132 (1766). Strix nivea, Thunb. Kon. Svensk. Vet.-Ak. Handl. xix, p. 184 (1798). Nyctea nivea, Hume, Ibis, 1871, p. 410. Nyctea scandiaca, Sharpe, Cat. B. M. ii, p. 125; Hume, S. F. vii, p. 345; id. Cat. no. 68 bis.
Coloration. Pure white, a few brown bars remaining here and there, even in old males, more in old females. In young birds the facial disk, a narrow collar on the back of the neck, the chin and throat, wing-lining and axillaries, feathers on the legs and feet, vent and under tail-coverts are pure white; the rest of the plumage, including the quills and tail, barred with brown, the bars being broad, rather distinct from each other, crescentic or subcrescentic in shape, and not continuous from feather to feather either above or below. Bill black; irides golden yellow.
Length about 23; tail 9.25; wing 17 ; tarsus 2.3; bill from gape 1.7.
Distribution. The northern portion of both hemispheres, some birds migrating into the temperate zone in winter. A single specimen was once received by Mr. Hume from Mardan in the North-west Punjab, not far from Peshawur. The bird was obtained by Dr. Johnson on March 3rd, and other specimens were said to have been seen by the shikari. So far as is known this Owl has not since been observed within Indian limits.