The snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus) is a large owl of the typical owl family Strigidae. The snowy owl was one of the many bird species originally described by Linnaeus in the landmark 1758 10th edition of his Systema Naturae, where it was given the binomial name of Strix nyctea. Until recently, it was regarded as the sole member of a distinct genus, as Nyctea scandiaca, but mtDNA cytochrome b sequence data (Olsen et al. 2002) shows that it is very closely related to the horned owls in the genus Bubo. However, some authorities debate this classification, still preferring Nyctea.

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