Snowy Owl Wingspan: Explained & Compared With Others

Snowy Owl Wingspan

Snowy Owl Wingspan

If you ask me which one is the cutest owl, then I would definitely say the snowy owl, not because of its size or appearance but because of its extra feathery wings. 

Snowy owls are native to both North America and the Palearctic, where they breed primarily on the tundra. 

Snowy Owls are white birds with black and brown markings on their bodies and wings. The snowy owl is a large, powerful owl that lives in the high Arctic tundra and is colored for camouflage during the winter. Snowy owls have a lot of feathers because they need to keep warm in Arctic temperatures. 

The snowy owl is a patient hunter, perching and waiting for its prey to be identified before soaring away in pursuit. Snowy owls fly low to the ground most of the time.

They usually stay close to the ground when flying. Once they spot their prey, they approach it from the air and snag it in no time. 

Their speed and effectiveness during their flight are highly dependent on their wingspan. Birds with larger wingspans like eagles and albatrosses have more efficient flight and can reach high distances. 

On average, the wingspan of the male snowy owl is about 116 to 165.6 cm (3 ft 10 in to 5 ft 5 in) while females have a wingspan of about 146 to 183 cm (4 ft 9 in to 6 ft 0 in). 

BirdCentimeter Inches Feet
Snowy Owl Male116 to 165.6 cm45-64 in3 ft 10 in to 5 ft 5 in
Snowy Owl Female146 to 183 cm57-72 in4 ft 9 in to 6 ft 0 in
Snowy Owl Average Wingspan126-145 cm49.6-57.1 in4.1-4.7 ft

Snowy owls use their large and powerful wings to silently sneak up on or accelerate after prey.

Juvenile Snowy Owl Wingspan

While it may be quite easy to differentiate different types of birds from one another, how do you differentiate from the same type to know which one is the adult and which one is its young one?

You may easily do that by looking at their appearance, as juvenile male snowy owls have dark markings that resemble females until they reach maturity when they typically turn whiter.

However, one of the easier ways to distinguish them from their parents is to compare their sizes. It is quite prominent that the young snowy owl would be smaller than the adult snowy owls.

While the overall length and weight of the juvenile snowy owl would be smaller than the adult, their wingspan would also not be fully grown.

Juveniles, just at birth would have a wingspan of even smaller than 3 feet but reach up to 4 to 5 feet as they get matured.

Snowy Owl Wingspan Comparison To Human

Snowy Owl Wingspan

Snowy owls live in the arctic and very cold regions and so rarely get in close proximity to humans.

Also, snowy owls tend to inhabit places where there are no humans, as we are one of the top predators of these beautiful birds. A lot of people hunt down these birds to keep them as pets or to fulfill their personal desires. 

However, have you ever wondered how these birds would look when compared to humans?

While we cannot really comment on the difference in their wingspan, as humans do not have wings, we can surely compare the wingspan of the snowy owl with the arm span and overall height of humans.

Humans are one of the top predators in the food chain, and they are enormous in size with an average height of about 5.2 to 5.9 feet with a similar arm span. 

On the other hand, snowy owls have an overall length of 20.5-27.9 in (52-71 cm) and a wingspan of 49.6-57.1 in (126-145 cm) or 4-4.7 feet on average. 

While the overall height of the snowy owl is less than that of humans, they do have larger wingspan.

It’s quite interesting to see that their wingspan size itself is similar to the overall height of humans. So, during their flight, the bird would look similar in size to a human. 

Snowy Owl Vs Barn Owl Wingspan Comparison

Snowy Owl Wingspan

In the case of other species like humans, we cannot really compare the bird on the same parameters as they have different features, but we can surely compare two birds on the same parameters. 

For instance, the same kind of birds such as the snowy owl and the Barn owl would have a lot of similarities, but would also be different in some or other way such as their size. 

The barn owl is a medium-sized owl with long pale-colored wings. Furthermore, the Barn Owl has good low-light vision and can detect prey by sight at night. Its ability to locate prey solely through sound, on the other hand, is admirable.

The Barn owl, like the other types of owls, has a very low wing loading, which means its wings are large in comparison to its body mass. This allows Barn Owls to fly slowly and quietly, allowing them to easily locate their prey on the ground below.

The Barn Owl has a wingspan of 80 to 95 cm (31 to 37 in), or about 4 feet, whereas the snowy owl has a wingspan of about 49.6-57.1 in (126-145 cm), or 4.1-4.7 ft on average. Both the owls have quite similar wingspans, but some snowy owls have a larger wingspan of about 5 feet.

BirdCentimeter Inches Feet
Snowy Owl 126-145 cm49.6-57.1 in4.1-4.7 ft
Barn owl 80 to 95 cm31 to 37 in4-4.6 ft

Snowy Owl Vs Bald Eagle Wingspan Comparison

Another bird of prey quite famous among bird seekers is the Bald Eagle. The bald eagle, or Haliaeetus leucocephalus, is a bird of prey found in North America. Bald eagles are almost always found near water as seabirds. 

Eagle wings are built for gliding and soaring in warm air updrafts. Eagle wings are extremely strong and powerful, with passive soaring capabilities. 

The wings of an eagle are a marvel of lightweight design, allowing them to fly for hours without even flapping them. Long slotted feathers that can separate allow air to flow smoothly and prevent stalling when flying at slower speeds.

While the wingspan of the Bald Eagle is about 2 meters (6.6 feet) or 88 inches, the wingspan of the snowy owl is 49.6-57.1 in (126-145 cm) or 4.1-4.7 ft. The wingspan of the snowy owl is quite smaller than the wingspan of the Bald Eagle. 

BirdCentimeter Inches Feet
Snowy Owl 126-145 cm49.6-57.1 in4.1-4.7 ft
Bald Eagle 154-234 cm61-92.4 in 5.11 feet to 7.7 feet

Interestingly, female Bald Eagles have much larger wingspan than males, their wingspan can reach up to about 8 feet, which is almost double the wingspan of the snowy owl. 

Snowy Owl Vs Great Horned Owl Wingspan Comparison

Other than the snowy owl and the Barn owl there are several other types of owls such as the Great Horned Owl. 

The Great Horned Owl is a formidable predator capable of pursuing larger animals and birds. It is a common owl in North America and nearly every other semi-open area between the Arctic and the tropics.

These birds have extremely soft and bushy feathers, as well as strong claws, to keep themselves warm during the cold seasons. 

Furthermore, they are covered in extremely soft feathers that keep them warm in the winter and allow them to fly quietly in pursuit of prey.

The Great Horned Owl has short but wide wings that allow it to fly through the forest, and its soft feathers allow it to approach prey quietly. 

With a wingspan range of about 2.9-5 ft and an average wingspan of 4 feet. A great horned owl doesn’t really have that much difference in wingspan.

BirdCentimeter Inches Feet
Snowy Owl 126-145 cm49.6-57.1 in4.1-4.7 ft
Great Horned Owl91 to 153 cm35 to 60 in2.9-5 ft


And that was everything you need to know about the wingspan of the snowy owl. I hope this article was informative enough and you got something useful from it.

Thank You For Reading!

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