In book one, she’s described as being a snowy or white owl.

Do we know what species she is in either the book or the movie?

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    A snowy owl is a species of owl. I think you might be confused and thought "snowy" meant "white" in this context? Because you literally listed the answer in your question. :) – Theik Oct 15 '15 at 13:34
  • @Theik Indeed, but at least I've come up with some more interesting stuff for my answer than just a quote saying she's a snowy owl :-) – Rand al'Thor Oct 15 '15 at 13:47
  • Related: Who played Hedwig? – unor Oct 17 '15 at 17:28
  • @unor Yes, Himarm posted both these questions within minutes of each other. – Rand al'Thor Oct 17 '15 at 17:42
  • @randal'thor: I know (the link’s not intended for Himarm but for any reader interested in Hedwig, and finding out more about the topic, as the species and the actual animals used in the movie are closely related). – unor Oct 17 '15 at 17:44

She is a snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus).

"White owl" is just a description of her, but "snowy owl" is actually a species of owl, native to the Arctic. It is the only species of owl that is predominantly white with black markings, and therefore unmistakable. Here's a quote to confirm that this is Hedwig's species:

Harry now carried a large cage that held a beautiful snowy owl, fast asleep with her head under her wing.
-- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Here are two pictures of snowy owls (female on the left, male on the right):

[snowy owl female[1] snowy owl male

In the films, Hedwig is played by male snowy owls, which are whiter and also smaller, making them easier for young actors to handle. You can see this from comparing the follow shot of film-Hedwig to the two pictures above:


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