Northern Hawk Owl

Surnia ulula (Strigidae), commonly known as Northern Hawk Owl, is a bird of boreal forests distinctive among owls for its morphology and behavior.

This species is found primarily in North America, but has also spread through northern Russia and Scandinavia.

Adults have a long tapered tail, short pointed wings, face white, with black border, crown and forehead dark with many white spots, and underparts white with heavy brown bars.

Surnia ulula rarely walks on the ground. A waddle-like motion characterizes its walk. Its flight is “rapid and strong.” When moving from one perch to another, it quickly dives down, stays low, and then abruptly flies up to the new perch.

The Northern Hawk Owl participates in self-maintaining behavior through preening and snow-bathing. These animals are primarily diurnal but may also be active at night. A male establishes its territory a few weeks before nesting and attracts a female to the nest site through an Advertising Call.

The Northern Hawk Owl can detect prey by sight at a distance of up to 800 meters (half a mile). Though it is thought to detect prey primarily by sight, the Northern Hawk Owl can find and seize prey under 30 cm (1 foot) of snow.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©L. Mikonranta

Locality: Kortepohja, Jyväskylä, Finland


Northern Hawk Owl by Nis Lundmark Jensen
Via Flickr:


As you probably know all Fukurodani members have something owly in their names (and sometimes in character design too lol).
Bokuto is Horned Owl. I vote for a Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus subarcticus);
Akaashi is Rufous-legged Owl (Strix rufipes);
Konoha is Eurasian Scops Owl is Konohazuku (Otus scops);
Shirofuku is Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus)
Suzumeda is some kind of Pygmy Owl;
Komi is Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus);
Sarukui is Verreaux’s Eagle-owl (Bubo lacteus);
Washio is Eurasian Eagle-owl (Bubo Bubo);
Onaga = Northern Hawk-owl (Surnia ulula).

Surnia is the woman you’ve heard about, but have never had the privilege of seeing. She isn’t in the business of pandering to feelings of entitlement. An audience with Surnia the Wrecker is earned, just as her respect is. Standing at nearly six feet tall, her grace and poise extend her presence until her sepia face seems to peer down at you from a distant heaven. She could be an agent of the gods, top, with her rippling muscles stretched over her shoulders, arms, and back. Her strong, black and white striped wings of the Northern Hawk Owl extend out into the sky as though they could hold her there forever. With an innate sense of justice and order, Surnia marches through her life with dignity and strength, rarely dismissing a challenge or ignoring an opportunity to don her chain mail and bash some heads in.

Behold, the Northern Hawk Owl.  The Northern Hawk-Owl has a long, slender tail and a hawk-like profile. Its facial disk is bordered with black, and its underparts are barred in brown. Medium in size, the Northern Hawk-Owl is about 16” long. It is most often seen perched atop a tree at the edge of a clearing. The Northern Hawk-Owl’s flight is low and swift.  Northern Hawk-Owls are not uncommon on the Chugach National Forest, but are uncommon on the Tongass National Forest.

To learn more about this elusive bird, click on

Image courtesy Wikicommons,_Hökuggla.jpg