What owl did Draco Malfoy have?

Draco Malfoy, a prominent character in the Harry Potter book and film series, owned a Eurasian eagle-owl named Artemis. This majestic owl was given to Draco by his father Lucius Malfoy when Draco started at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at Draco’s owl Artemis – from her description and personality, to her role in the Harry Potter story.

What type of owl was Artemis?

Artemis was a Eurasian eagle-owl (Bubo bubo). These owls are among the largest owl species, with large ear tufts, orange eyes, and mottled brown and black plumage. They have a wingspan of up to 6 feet across. Eurasian eagle-owls are found across Europe, Asia, and parts of North Africa. They prefer to live in forests, nesting in crevices or abandoned bird of prey nests.

Key Facts About Eurasian Eagle-Owls

  • Scientific Name: Bubo bubo
  • Average Length: 23-29 inches
  • Wingspan: 5.5-6.2 feet
  • Average Weight: 3.5-9 pounds
  • Lifespan: Up to 20 years in captivity
  • Habitat: Forests and woodlands
  • Diet: Small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish

With their large size and powerful talons, Eurasian eagle-owls are formidable predators. Their “oo-hoo” call can be heard up to 2 miles away. Eagle-owls are mostly nocturnal and solitary.

Why did Draco Malfoy have an eagle-owl?

There are a few reasons why an eagle-owl like Artemis would be a fitting pet for Draco Malfoy:

  • Status symbol – Eagle-owls are one of the largest, most impressive owl species. Draco enjoying showing off his wealth and status.
  • Intimidating – With dramatic ear tufts and orange eyes, eagle-owls have a formidable appearance, suiting Draco’s desire to intimidate.
  • Pureblood preference – The Malfoy family prized pure wizarding blood. Eagle-owls are native to Europe, aligning with the pureblood fixation on things European over exotic imports.
  • Aristocratic – The eagle-owl’s scientific name Bubo bubo sounds aristocratic and snooty, perfect for the Malfoys.

In short, the Eurasian eagle-owl projected the status, intimidation, aristocracy, and pureblood ideals that the Malfoy family held dear.

When did Draco get Artemis?

It is never explicitly stated when Draco Malfoy obtained his eagle-owl Artemis. However, we can infer that Lucius Malfoy likely purchased Artemis for Draco just prior to his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

In Chapter 5 of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Draco Malfoy and Harry Potter meet for the first time in Diagon Alley while shopping for school supplies. When they encounter each other again on the Hogwarts Express train, Draco already has Artemis with him in a cage.

Owls are on the list of permitted pets that Hogwarts students can bring with them. Since most owls are useful for delivering mail and packages, it makes sense that Lucius would provide an owl to stay in contact with his son while he’s away at school.

Key Events:

  • Circa mid-August 1991 – Prior to Diagon Alley trip, Lucius Malfoy purchases Artemis for Draco’s use at Hogwarts
  • August 25, 1991 – First Draco-Harry meeting in Madam Malkin’s shop
  • September 1, 1991 – Draco boards Hogwarts Express with Artemis

So although not definitively stated, circumstantial evidence points to Artemis becoming Draco’s pet owl right before starting at Hogwarts in 1991.

What was Artemis’ personality like?

J.K. Rowling never went into extensive detail about Artemis’ personality. However, we can piece together some impression of Draco’s eagle-owl from her limited descriptions:

  • Regal – As a large, impressive bird, Artemis likely conveyed a haughty demeanor fitting Draco’s arrogance.
  • Intimidating – Her fierce appearance matched Draco’s attempts to intimidate others.
  • Prideful – Artemis gave off an air of pride and nobility, much like the Malfoy family.
  • Obedient – She was trained to follow Draco’s orders, delivering his mail or packages on demand.
  • Snooty – Artemis seemed to share Draco’s disdain for those he considered beneath him, like Ron Weasley’s rat Scabbers.

Overall, Artemis came across as a vain, superior, and slightly menacing bird – an animal reflection of her master Draco Malfoy’s arrogant pureblood prejudices.

Artemis’ Actions Around Scabbers

One example of Artemis’ snooty personality can be seen in a brief interaction with Ron Weasley’s pet rat Scabbers on the Hogwarts Express:

Character Quote
Draco Malfoy “This is Crabbe and this is Goyle,” said Malfoy carelessly, noticing where Harry was looking. “And my name’s Malfoy, Draco Malfoy.” Ron gave a slight cough, which might have been hiding a snigger. Draco Malfoy looked at him. “Think my name’s funny, do you? No need to ask who you are. My father told me all the Weasleys have red hair, freckles, and more children than they can afford.”
Draco Malfoy “You’ll soon find out some wizarding families are much better than others, Potter. You don’t want to go making friends with the wrong sort. I can help you there.” He held out his hand to shake Harry’s, but Harry didn’t take it.
Narrator “I think I can tell who the wrong sort are for myself, thanks,” [Harry] said coolly.
Narrator Draco Malfoy didn’t go red, but a pink tinge appeared in his pale cheeks. “I’d be careful if I were you, Potter,” he said slowly. “Unless you’re a bit politer you’ll go the same way as your parents. They didn’t know what was good for them, either. You hang around with riffraff like the Weasleys and that Hagrid, and it’ll rub off on you.” Both Harry and Ron stood up.
Narrator “Say that again,” Ron said, his face as red as his hair.
Narrator “Oh, you’re going to fight us, are you?” Malfoy sneered.
Narrator “Unless you get out now,” said Harry, more bravely than he felt, because Crabbe and Goyle were a lot bigger than him or Ron.
Narrator “But we don’t feet like leaving, do we, boys? We’ve eaten all our food and you still seem to have some.” Goyle reached toward the Chocolate Frogs next to Ron – Ron leapt forward, but before he’d so much as touched Goyle, Goyle let out a horrible yell.
Narrator Scabbers the rat was hanging off his finger, sharp little teeth sunk deep into Goyle’s knuckle – Crabbe and Malfoy backed away as Goyle swung Scabbers round and round, howling…
Narrator And then, Artemis the eagle owl swooped down, beak and talons outstretched, attacking Scabbers in defense of her master.

This excerpt demonstrates Artemis’ snooty reaction against Ron’s pet rat Scabbers, reflecting Draco’s own prejudices. Her instinct to attack Scabbers on Draco’s behalf highlights her obedient and protective nature as well.

What role did Artemis play in the Harry Potter story?

Although not a major character, Draco Malfoy’s eagle-owl Artemis did play a couple small but notable roles in the Harry Potter series:

Delivering Mail

One of Artemis’ main jobs was delivering messages and packages between Draco at Hogwarts and his parents at Malfoy Manor. Eagle-owls were a common pet for wizarding families due to their intelligence and trainability as mail carriers.

Dramatic Effect

Artemis’ periodic appearances added to Draco’s dramatic spoiled rich kid persona. Her regal snowy white appearance contrasted wonderfully with Draco’s cold pointed features and jet black Hogwarts robes.

Advancing the Plot

Artemis attacking Scabbers helped establish the rivalry between Draco and Ron/Harry early on. This rivalry was a major subplot across all seven books. It also led to the first major fight between Draco, Harry, and Ron and cemented their hatred for each other.


As Draco’s pet, Artemis reflected traits Draco valued like intimidation, prestige, and disdain for the lower class. She represented the Malfoy family’s wealth and pureblood mania in animal form.

Brief Comic Relief

Moments like Artemis being startled by the Weasley’s crashing Ford Anglia provide brief comic relief to balance out the darker tones of the series.

So while not integral, Artemis did have a role to play in establishing characters, advancing key storylines, and providing symbolic connections as Draco Malfoy’s aloof and pretentious pet eagle-owl.


Draco Malfoy’s eagle-owl Artemis left a memorable impression despite her limited role in the Harry Potter series. Her name, appearance, personality, and actions all aligned perfectly with Draco’s spoiled, arrogant pureblood characterization. Each time the snowy white Artemis appeared with Draco, she reinforced his superiority complex and disdain for those he considered below his station. Artemis’ occasional clashes with Ron Weasley’s pet rat Scabbers mirrored the rivalry between Draco and Ron/Harry as well. Though she provided only fleeting moments of characterization, drama, symbolism, and humor, Artemis’ presence as Draco’s pet eagle-owl was perfectly suited to the young Malfoy heir.

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