684. SNOWY OWL.
Nyctea scandiaca (Linn.), Syst. Nat. i. p. 132 (1766) ; Newton, i. p. 187 ; Dresser, v. p. 287, pls. 309, 310 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. Br. Mus. ii. p. 125 ; Saunders, p. 303 ; Lilford, i. p. 105, pl. 50 ; Blanf. F. Brit. Ind. iii. p. 290 ; S. nyctea, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 132 (1766) ; Naum. i. p. 417, Taf. 41 ; Wils. Am. Orn. iv. p. 53, pl. 32, fig. 1 ; Gould. B. of E. i. pl. 43 ; S. nivea. Thurnb. Sv. Akad. Handl. 1798, p. 184 ; (Gould), B. of Gt. Brit. i. pl. 34 ; S. arctica, Bartr. Tray. Carol, p. 289 (1791).
Surnie Harfang, French ; Schnee-Eule, Germ. ; Sneugle, Dan. and Norweg. ; Fjelluggla, Harfang, Swed. ; Skuolffi, Lapp. ; Tunturipollo, Finn. ; Bielaya-sova, Russ. ; Ak-uku, Baskir.
Male ad. (Siberia). Pure white, with the remains of a few dark bars on the upper parts, occasionally quite white ; legs and feet covered with long, dense, hair-like feathers ; on the head small, scarcely perceptible ear- tufts ; bill and claws blackish horn ; iris deep yellow. Culmen 2.25, wing 16.0, tail 8.8, tarsus 2.4 inch. The female is larger and has the upper parts closely barred with blackish brown, the under parts also, but with narrower bars.
Hab. The high northern portions of Europe, Asia and America, wandering south in winter, when it has been met with in the British Islands, France, Germany ; once even in the N.W. Punjab. In North America it has been met with in winter as far south as Texas and the Bermudas.
Does not inhabit forests, but frequents the open, treeless plains, and rocky parts of the mountains, and is shy and wary, and though noiseless its flight is strong and protracted. It hunts both in the daytime and in the dusk of the evening, and preys on small rodents, Arctic hares, Willow Grouse, Ptarmigan, and other birds, fish, and carrion. Its cry is a loud krau-krau, and also rick, rick, rick. Its nest is a mere hollow in the open ground, or on the ledge of a rock, sometimes lined with a few feathers or a little grass, and from 4 to as many as 10 eggs are deposited in June or July at indefinite intervals so that fresh hatched as well as nearly fledged young are found in the same nest. The eggs are roundish oval, fine in grain of shell, pure white and in size average about 2.32 by 1.76.
684. Nyctea scandiaca
684. SNOWY OWL.