Barn Owl

Tyto alba

Summary 3

The Barn Owl (Tyto alba) is the most widely distributed species of owl, and one of the most widespread of all birds. It is also referred to as Common Barn Owl, to distinguish it from other species in the barn owl family Tytonidae.
It hunts by flying low and slowly over an area of open ground, hovering over spots that conceal potential prey. They may also use fence posts or other lookouts to ambush prey. The Barn Owl feeds primarily on small vertebrates, particularly rodents. Studies have shown that an individual Barn Owl may eat one or more rodents per night; a nesting pair and their young can eat more than 1,000 rodents per year. Locally superabundant rodent species in the weight class of several grams per individual usually make up the single largest proportion of prey, no matter whether they are Muridae,[17] Cricetidae,[18] or Geomyidae (pocket gophers). Such animals probably make up at least three-quarters of the biomass eaten by each and every T. alba, except in some island populations.[19] In Ireland, the accidental introduction of the Bank Vole in the 1950s has led to a major shift in the Barn Owl's diet: where their ranges overlap, the vole is now by far the largest prey item.[20]
In temperate regions, the breeding season usually starts in late March to early April. Breeding can take place at any time prey is abundant, and in the warm parts of its range may occur at any time of the year. An increase in rodent populations will usually soon cause the local Barn Owls to begin nesting; thus, even in the cooler parts of its range two broods are often raised each year. The male entices as are often used. Occasionally, nesting takes place in mine shafts and caves.[23] The female typically lays four–seven eggs. The male brings food to the nest as the female incubates the eggs and cares for chicks.[24]

Sources and Credits

  1. (c) Tim, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-ND),
  2. (c) Wikimedia Commons, all rights reserved, uploaded by nataliemarisa,,_Surrey,_England-8a_(1).jpg
  3. Adapted by nataliemarisa from a work by (c) Wikipedia, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA),

More Info

iNat Map

Endangered status least concern
Taxa aves