Owl (Northern Hawk)

Surnia ulula

IUCN Red List status: Least Concern

For more info on classifications, visit www.iucnredlist.org

Least Concern


Where they live

Eurasia from Norway, Sweden and Finland east through Siberia to Kamchatka, Sakhalin, and North China, in Central Asia south to Tien Shan. North America from Alaska east to Labrador.


Open boreal coniferous forest with clearings and moors in lowlands or mountains.


Length 36-41cm. Wing length 218-258mm. Tail length 160-204mm


215-392g. Females are heavier than males.


10 - 16 years

Did you know...

  • A typical male call is a rapid, melodious, purring trill of up to 14 seconds long, which consists of about 11 to 15 notes per second. It begins softly, rises slightly in pitch and increases to a vibrating trill before breaking off abruptly. Females utter a similar, higher-pitched, less clear song.
  • The Northern Hawk Owl can detect prey by sight up to half a mile away.

More about Northern Hawk Owls...

The Northern Hawk Owl is a medium sized Owl with no ear-tufts, a whitish face and long pointed wings.

A bird of boreal forests, the Northern Hawk Owl behaves like a hawk but looks like an owl. Its oval body, yellow eyes, and round face enclosed by dark parentheses are distinctly owl. Its long tail and habit of perching atop solitary trees and hunting by daylight, though, are reminiscent of a hawk. It is a solitary bird that tends to stick to the boreal forest, but some winters it moves south into the northern United States, delighting birders near and far.

Northern Hawk Owls are thought to detect prey primarily by sight. Along with their tendency to hunt in the daytime, their symmetrical ear openings are cited as evidence for daytime hunting—their ears presumably have less acute hearing than the asymmetrical ear openings of species such as Boreal and Great Grey Owls. Even so, hawk owls can still find prey by sound, even when it is under a foot of snow.


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