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(Nyctea scandiaca), a bird of the family Strigidae, native to the arctic.
Snowy owls are distributed in the tundra zone of North America, Europe, and Asia, and on certain islands of the northern Arctic Ocean. In the winter they migrate to the steppe zone. Their plumage is white, with greater or lesser development of brown spots. Their length is 55–65 cm; wingspread, 150–168 cm; and weight, 1.5–2.5 kg. The eggs (from three to 11) are laid in the middle or end of May; a hole in the earth, lined with moss, serves as a nest. The brooding lasts about a month. Intensive reproduction of snowy owls may be observed in years of abundance of its main food, lemmings. When there are few lemmings, the number of eggs in a clutch is smaller, and in some years snowy owls do not nest at all.