Northern Hawk Owl

Surnia ulula

Northern Hawk Owl


Northern hawk owls are a little smaller than crows and have long, rounded tails and striped bellies. They have brown feathers with white spots, yellow eyes and black circles around their eyes.

Range & Habitat

They are found across western Canada, Alaska and northern US. They like to hang around fields, bogs and open edges of forests.

Diet & Behaviour

Hawk owls eat small birds in the winter and mice, rabbits and squirrels in the summer. They hunt day and night, and keep themselves clean by preening and rolling in the snow. Their call sounds like a screechy ul-ul-ul-ul.

Lifecycle & Threats

They usually mate for life and the female tends the eggs and young while the male finds food and protects them against predators. The new owls leave the nest when they are three to five weeks old. A northern hawk owl can live for ten years. Great horned owls and northern goshawks eat them and their treed habitat is threatened by logging.


COSEWIC: Not at Risk
CDC: Yellow

More Information


Photo: Jean Guy Dellarie