NORTHERN HAWK OWL

 

NORTHERN HAWK OWL (Surnia ulula) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The Northern Hawk Owl adult head cap is finely mottled brown and white, and the back and wings are brown with white spots. There are two oblique black bands on each side of the nape. Facial disk is only partial and light grey, and bordered by a black band. Under parts, including underwings, are creamy and finely barred with brown. Eyes are yellow, hooked bill yellow-orange. Legs and feet are covered in feathers. Sexes are similar, with female larger. Bird length is around 40 cm (15 inches).
VOICE: https://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Surnia-ulula
NAME: ‘Owl’ is an onomatopoeia for the bird’s call and comes from Cockney. ‘Hawk’ would stem from ‘to have’, to seize or grasp. Latin genus name ‘Surnia’ might be an invented name by French zoologist Andre Marie Constant Dumeril. (Choate, Helm). Latin species name ‘ulula’ means ‘screech owl’.
HABITAT: Boreal conifer forest.
DIET: Rodents, also small birds. Hunts at daytime, dawn and dusk.
NESTING: Nest can be located in a tree cavity or in another species abandoned nest. Around four to eight white eggs are laid, incubated by female. Chicks fed by female for first two weeks.
DISTRIBUTION: Year-round resident around the world in Canadian and Alaskan boreal forest, Russian taiga and in Scandinavia.
Distribution Map: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_hawk-owl – /media/File:Surnia_ulula_dis.png
ON PEI: Does not breed on Prince Edward Island, sightings listed as ‘accidental’ so far in the spring, and ‘occasional’ in winter. See note below on bird vagrancy.
CONSERVATION: Global population not at risk, but trends difficult to estimate due to remoteness of habitat. Numbers fluctuate according to rodent prey cycles.
NOTES: Since the feathers of this owl species are not as soft as other owls, their flight is not as silent.
Vagrancy: In biology this means an animal going way outside its normal range. For birds, this can happen when there are storms and they get blown off course. On other times, the bird simply wanders in a different direction than usual. Here’s an article about vagrancy in birds.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Boreal Owl, Northern Saw-whet Owl
REFERENCES: https://www.borealbirds.org/bird/northern-hawk-owl
https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/northern-hawk-owl
http://fieldguide.mt.gov/speciesDetail.aspx?elcode=ABNSB07010 (Montana Field Guide)
https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Surnia_ulula/ (University of Michigan)
http://www.luontoportti.com/suomi/en/linnut/hawk-owl (Nature Gate Finland)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_hawk-owl
https://birdatlas.mb.ca/accounts/speciesaccount.jsp?sp=NHOW&lang=en (Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas)
https://app.bto.org/birdfacts/results/bob7500.htm (British Trust for Ornithology)
http://identify.whatbird.com/obj/18/overview/Northern_Hawk_Owl.aspx
https://www.owlpages.com/owls/species.php?s=1830

Northern Hawk Owl - Prague Zoo, Czech Republic - Sept. 2011 - photo by Karelj
Northern Hawk Owl – Prague Zoo, Czech Republic – Sept. 2011 – photo by Karelj
Northern Hawk Owl, back view - Feb. 2005 - photo by BS Thurner Hof
Northern Hawk Owl, back view – Feb. 2005 – photo by BS Thurner Hof
Northern Hawk Owl, front view - Welcome, ON - Apr. 2006 - photo by Krun
Northern Hawk Owl, front view – Welcome, ON – Apr. 2006 – photo by Krun
 

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