USGS - science for a changing world

Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

  Home About NPWRC Our Science Staff Employment Contacts Common Questions About the Site

Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Northern Hawk-Owl -- Surnia ulula


RANGE: Breeds from tree-line in western and central Alaska to southern Keewatin, central Labrador south to southern Alaska, northern Minnesota, northern Michigan, and New Brunswick. Winters from the breeding range southward irregularly to southern Canada and northern Minnesota, and casually the northern United States.

HABITAT: Inhabits much of the northern open coniferous or mixed forests, forest edges, clearings, old burns, dense brushy areas (especially tamarack), scrubby second-growth woodlands, and muskeg.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Open woodlands with cavities for nesting.

NEST: Usually nests in natural cavities or in enlarged holes of pileated woodpeckers and flickers, but also in birch, spruce, and poplar snags. Occasionally nests on cliffs or in crow's nests.

FOOD: Hunts extensively during the day, preying on small mammals (especially mice), birds, and insects. In summer, consumes primarily small mammals and insects. Preys on ptarmigan during winter when other foods are scarce.

REFERENCES: Bent 1938, Henderson 1919, 1925, Mendall 1944.


Previous Section -- Family Strigidae
Return to Family List
Return to Contents

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo USA.gov logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
URL: http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/birds/forest/species/surnulul.htm
Page Contact Information: Webmaster
Page Last Modified: Friday, 01-Feb-2013 19:28:42 EST
Sioux Falls, SD [sdww55]