When I was young and carefree I confused my owls. Though I knew Hedwig was a snowy owl, I pictured her as a graceful barn owl. In fact I was slightly disappointed by film Hedwig because snowy owls don’t have the same beautiful mask like faces as barn owls.
So whence came the confusion?
I blame the Chamber of Secrets cover.
Look, that is quite clearly a barn owl.
It has the classic brown frame to its face and lacks the speckled body of a snowy. And yes, it’s definitely supposed to be Hedwig because Ron doesn’t own an owl yet.
Apparently the illustrator of the Chamber of Secrets had the same level of ornithological knowledge as nine year old me. White owl = close enough. Or worse, he didn’t read the book properly.