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The snowy owl (Nyctea scandiaca) is a bird of prey that lives in the tundra of North America. This owl is diurnal (most active during the day).

Anatomy: The snowy owl is 20 to 27 inches (50-68 cm) long and weighs 3.5 to 4.5 pounds (1.6 to 2 kg). The bill is black, the head is rounded, and the legs are heavily feathered. Snowy owls are almost all white with scattered dark spots. Males and females are similar, but the male is whiter.

Eyes: Snowy owls have yellow eyes and very good vision. Owls cannot move their eyes within their sockets like we can. In order to look around, they have to move their entire head, which has a range of movement of about 270°. Owls have a large head and large eyes that face forwards (unlike other birds, whose eyes are on the sides of their head). This eye placement gives them binocular vision and very precise depth perception. Also, there are circles of radiating feathers surrounding each eye, giving them a wide-eyed, alert look.

Diet: Snowy owls are carnivores (meat-eaters) who are stealth hunters; they can easily sneak up on their prey since their fluffy feathers give them almost silent flight. Snowy owls hunt and eat small rodents like lemmings and voles. They also eat hares, rabbits, and large birds like ptarmigans, ducks, and geese.

Reproduction: Females lay 5-8 white eggs in a clutch. The nest is lined with moss, lichens and feathers; it is located on the exposed tundra.

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