Northern Hawk-owl Surnia ulula


Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
Cramp, S. and Simmons, K.E.L. (eds). 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - -

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2021 Least Concern
2016 Least Concern
2012 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern
Species attributes

Migratory status nomadic Forest dependency Medium
Land mass type Average mass -

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 49,700,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 21,300,000 medium
Number of locations -
Severely Fragmented -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 100000-499999 poor suspected 2020
Population trend Stable suspected -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) - - -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Percentage in largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 3.9 - - -

Population justification: Partners in Flight Science Committee (2020) estimate the North American population to number c.130,000 individuals (c.87,000 mature individuals) and the global population to number c.250,000 individuals (c.167,000 mature individuals). The European population is estimated at 10,400-46,200 pairs, which equates to 20,800-92,400 mature individuals (BirdLife International in prep.). Europe forms approximately 13% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 160,000-711,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed. The population is precautionarily placed in the band 100,000-499,999 mature individuals however the actual population could be larger.

Trend justification: The overall trend is likely to be fluctuating according to small-mammal prey availability. The population trend in North America is unclear, with Christmas Bird Count data showing a variable trend with irruptive years (Partners in Flight 2021). Note that these surveys cover less than 50% of the species's range in North America. In Europe the population in stable (BirdLife International in prep.).

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Austria V Extant
Belarus V Extant
Belgium V Extant
Bermuda (to UK) V Extant
Canada N Extant Yes
China (mainland) N Extant
Czechia V Extant
Denmark V Extant Yes
Estonia N Extant Yes
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) V Extant
Finland N Extant Yes
France V Extant
Germany V Extant
Hungary V Extant
Japan V Extant
Kazakhstan N Extant Yes
Kyrgyzstan N Extant Yes
Latvia N Extinct Yes
Luxembourg V Extant
Mongolia N Extant Yes
Montenegro V Extant
Netherlands V Extant
North Korea N Extant Yes
Norway N Extant Yes
Poland V Extant
Romania V Extant
Russia N Extant Yes Yes
Russia (Asian) N Extant Yes
Russia (Central Asian) N Extant Yes
Russia (European) N Extant Yes
Serbia V Extant
Slovakia V Extant Yes
Spain V Extant
Sweden N Extant Yes
Switzerland V Extant
Ukraine V Extant Yes
United Kingdom V Extant
USA N Extant Yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Sweden Lake Gammelstadsviken
Sweden Sjaunja
Finland Hanko western archipelago
Finland Talaskangas
Finland Ruunaa
Finland Viklinrimpi
Finland Värtsilä valley
Finland Luoto archipelago
Finland Litokaira
Finland Valtavaara-Pyhävaara
Finland Haapavesi wetlands
Finland Pajupuronsuo-Isosuo-Kivisuo
Finland Närängänvaara-Virmajoki-Romevaara
Finland Oulanka-Sukerijärvi
Finland Syöte-Salmitunturi
Finland Juortanansalo
Finland Elimyssalo
Finland Martimoaapa-Lumiaapa-Penikat
Finland Veittiaapa-Ristiaapa
Finland Runkaus-Saariaapa-Tainijärvet
Finland Kemihaara (Vuotos) mires and forests
Finland Sammutinjänkä-Vaijoenjänkä
Finland Lämsänaapa-Sakkala-aapa
Finland Joutsenaapa-Kaita-aapa
Finland Riisitunturi
Finland Luosto
Finland Kevo
Finland South-eastern Kittilä mires
Finland Maltio fjelds
Finland Värriö-Tuntsa
Finland Pallas and Ylläs fjelds
Finland Pomokaira-Koitelaiskaira
Finland Saariselkä and Koilliskaira
Finland Lemmenjoki-Hammastunturi-Pulju
Finland Käsivarsi fjelds
Russia (European) Zaonezh'ye
Russia (European) Yugyd Va
Russia (European) Valley of Sysola river
Russia (European) Lapland Biosphere Reserve
Russia (European) Central Forest Biosphere Reserve and adjacent areas
Russia (European) Ponoiskaya depression
Russia (European) Yamantau mountain
Russia (European) Verkhnevisherski mountain
Russia (European) Kumikushski wetland
Russia (European) Adovo-Chugrumski wetland
Russia (European) Iremel'ski mountain
Russia (European) Pinezhski Nature Reserve
Russia (European) Kivach Nature Reserve
Russia (European) Kenozer'ye
Norway Øvre Pasvik
Sweden Vindel Mountains (including Lake Tärna)
Sweden Lake Tjålme – Valley of Lais
Sweden Påkketan
Russia (European) Ivinski flood-plain (Verkhnesvirskoye reservoir)
Russia (European) Southern coast of Ladoga Lake
Russia (Central Asian) Verkhne-Kondinsky zakaznik
Russia (Central Asian) Flood-plain of the Tuy river
Kazakhstan Big Almaty Gorge
Russia (Central Asian) East slope of the Northern Ural
Russia (European) Nothern part of Gor'koe reservoir with spurs
Russia (Central Asian) Pershinsko-Manatkinsky area
Russia (Central Asian) Watershed of the Mulym'ya and Bolshoy Tap rivers
Canada St. Mary's River Complex (Echo Bay ON to Maxton Bay MI)
Mongolia Gorkhi-Terelj National Park
Kazakhstan Almaty State Nature Reserve
Kazakhstan Paradise Valley mountain plateau
Russia (Asian) Sayanski canyon of the Enisey river
Finland Lätäseno and Jietajoki mires
Finland Patvinsuo National Park
Finland Koskeljärvi, Vaaljärvi and Pitkäjärvi lakes
Russia (Central Asian) East slope of the Northern Ural
Russia (Central Asian) Visimsky zapovednik and vicinity
Russia (Central Asian) Zapovednik "Denezhkin Kamen'"
Mongolia Khan Khentii Strictly Protected Area
Norway Dovrefjell
Norway Øvre Anárjohka
Norway Reisa
Norway Øvre Forra
Sweden Tavvavouma
Sweden Lake Laidaure
Sweden Muddus

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Terrestrial Arable Land marginal resident
Forest Boreal suitable resident
Grassland Temperate suitable non-breeding
Grassland Tundra suitable resident
Shrubland Boreal suitable resident
Wetlands (inland) Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands suitable resident
Altitude 0 - 2650 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Agriculture & aquaculture Wood & pulp plantations - Agro-industry plantations Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 5
Ecosystem degradation
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Intentional use (species is the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Species mortality
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Persecution/control Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Species mortality
Climate change & severe weather Habitat shifting & alteration Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Whole (>90%) Unknown Unknown
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Viral/prion-induced diseases - West Nile Virus (WNV) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Species mortality
Natural system modifications Fire & fire suppression - Supression in fire frequency/intensity Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Ecosystem degradation
Pollution Agricultural & forestry effluents - Herbicides and pesticides Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Unknown Unknown Unknown
Species mortality
Transportation & service corridors Roads & railroads Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Species mortality

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - International Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Surnia ulula. Downloaded from on 03/07/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 03/07/2022.