Northern Hawk Owl

photo by Phil Swanson

Surnia ulula
L 16″ (41 cm).

Song or calls:
Hawk-like cry, “ki-ki-ki-ki.”

Description: Sexes similar. Long tail; falcon-like profile. No ear tufts; facial disks bordered in black. Brown overall with white blotches and dots above, and brown barring on underparts. This owl has a dark chin,  black eyebrows, yellow eyes, and a pale bill. Flight is low and swift.

Habitat: Boreal and tundra forests.

Where in Nebraska: The most diurnal of all North American owls. As they rarely see humans in their far northern habitat, these birds can be exceedingly tame.

Fun Facts: The Northern Hawk Owl can detect prey up to one foot under snow and up to half a mile away.

Northern Hawk Owl - photo by Phil Swanson Northern Hawk Owl - photo by Phil Swanson
(click image for larger view)