Average lifespan in the wild: 5 to 15 years
Size: Body, 18 to 25 in (46 to 63 cm); Wingspan, 3.3 to 4.8 ft (1 to 1.5 m)
Weight: 2 to 5.5 lbs (1 to 2.5 kg)
With heart shaped face, buff back and wings and pure white under parts the barn owl is a distinctive and much loved countryside bird. The Barn Owl is one of the most widely distributed birds in the world, found on all continents except Antarctica, and on many oceanic islands as well. It has been introduced by people to some of the few places it did not already occur, namely Hawaii, the Seychelles Islands, and Lord Howe Island.
Barn Owl video.
What do Barn Owls look like?
Barn owls have large heads without ear tufts. Their facial disk is distinctively heart-shaped. Barn owls have an ivory-colored beak that looks like a long nose, long feathered legs and toes. There are two color phases: white phase has white underparts sometimes with brown or black specks; orange phase has no white in plumage, only tawny or buff colors. Immature barn owls are similar to adults, only more down is visible, and chicks have white to buffy white down.
What sound does a Barn Owl make?
Loud hisses, shrill screeches, beak snapping, sometimes shrieking. Barn owls don't hoot, they hiss and scream. Because of their vocalizations and beautiful white plumage, these owls are probably the source of many ghost stories.
What do Barn Owls eat?
Barn Owls feed mostly on small mammals, mainly rodents, and birds, but some insects, frogs and lizards are also eaten. One of the more favoured foods is the introduced House Mouse, Mus musculus. Barn Owls hunt in flight, searching for prey on the ground using their exceptional hearing. The heart-shaped structure of the facial disc is unique to these types of owls. The slightest sound waves are channelled toward the ears, allowing the owl to pinpoint prey even in complete darkness.
Where do Barn Owls live?
By day the Barn Owl roosts in hollow logs, caves or dense trees, and is usually seen alone or in pairs. The preferred habitat is open, often arid (dry) country, such as farms, heath and lightly wooded forest.
What other names does the Barn Owl have?
It is known by many other names, which may refer to the looks, habitat or the silent flight: White Owl, Silver Owl, Demon Owl, Ghost Owl, Death Owl, Night Owl, Rat Owl, Church Owl, Cave Owl, Stone Owl, Monkey-faced Owl, Hissing Owl, Hobgoblin or Hobby Owl, Dobby Owl, Golden Owl, Scritch Owl, Screech Owl, Straw Owl, Barnyard Owl and Delicate Owl.
Cool Barn Owl facts
The female Barn Owl tends to be more spotted on the breast than the male.
Up to 46 different races of the Barn Owl have been described worldwide. The North American form is the largest, weighing more than twice as much as the smallest race from the Galapagos Islands.
The Barn Owl is one of the few bird species with the female showier than the male. The female has a more reddish chest that is more heavily spotted. The spots may signal to a potential mate the quality of the female.
The Barn Owl has excellent low-light vision, and can easily find prey at night by sight. But its ability to locate prey by sound alone is the best of any animal that has ever been tested. It can catch mice in complete darkness in the lab, or hidden by vegetation or snow out in the real world.
Barn Owl images
Barn Owl Wallpapers
Download free Barn Owl wallpapers, click on the image to open the large version.
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Barn Owl Coloring pages
Print free Barn Owl coloring pages, click on the image to open the large version.