A review of the Middle and Late Pleistocene sites containing remains of snowy owl Nyctea scandiaca in the Urals, European Russia, Siberia and Europe is given. Analyses of the rodent and bird fauna from the European and Siberian Pleistocene sites allowed to map the southern boundary of the distribution range of snowy owl and to determine the sites that snowy owl visited during seasonal movements to the south. The remains of snowy owl recovered within the rich avifauna in the Ural and Crimean caves are the result of eagle owl hunting activity. It was found that ranges of snowy and eagle owls significantly overlapped in the vast territory of the Middle and Late Pleistocene periglacial steppes. Since the Günz glacial in Europe and Late Würm glacial in Siberia snowy owl had a high predation pressure from the eagle owl. On the Pleistocene-Holocene boundary the ranges of snowy owl and eagle owl separated, following the formation of modern zonal landscapes.

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CC BY 3.0 NL ("Naamsvermelding")

Natuurhistorisch Museum Rotterdam

O. Potapova. (2001). Snowy owl Nyctea scandiaca (Aves: Strigiformes) in the Pleistocene of the Ural Mountains with notes on its ecology and distribution in the Northern Palearctic. Deinsea, 8(1), 103–126.