Out of all owl species, barn owls are the most abundant species which is found throughout the world. Due to their surviving and adapting abilities, barn owls have managed to inhabit all continents of the world. Barn owls belong to the family Tytonidae. Barn owls are found almost everywhere around the globe, but they do not occupy the cold polar regions, Aisa, Himalayas and some of the islands of the pacific ocean.
According to specialists, there are almost three kinds of barn owls which can be located in America, Europe, some parts of Asia, Europe, and Australia. Some researchers divide the barn owls into two categories, while others say it to be five. However, more research has to be done in order to reach a specific conclusion.
The feathers present on their heads and posterior are buffed grey and brown. The interior parts of the owls are usually white in colour, but they may have some grey or brown spots, and there can also be more dark pigmentation present. The feature which distinguishes these barn owls from most of the species is their heart-shaped face, most species and subspecies have the same heart-shaped face which is primarily white. Also, unlike the other owls, these owls do not hoot, but they screech.
Most of the species of the barn owls are nocturnal, But there are also some species which are also active in the day, some species in pacific and Great Britain islands. Barn owls hunt mainly by the ground, and they prefer eating mammals only. Though they have to plan like eagles for hunting, they do have a very mesmerizing sense of hearing through which they can accurately estimate the position of their prey. Barn owls are also healthy bond lovers, they mate only with one owl, and they do it for a lifelong commitment. They only take a second chance when they are deprived of one mate or if it is killed. The breeding times can vary from place to place. But they commonly lay four eggs in a clutch. The female does the laying and incubation of the eggs. However, both the young ones and the female during the whole breeding process is dependent upon the male. If barn owls have plenty of prey options available they can easily thrive in any environment and therefore they are the most abundant owl species.
Barn owl facts
- Barn owls are medium in size, they are nocturnal raptors, and they scoop up their prey with their firm claws and pointy talons(nails).
- Barn owls have a heart-shaped face, and most of the species and subspecies have similar white heart-shaped faces.
- The back of the barn owls is spotted with dark spots usually grey and brown.
- The barn owl’s chest is also pigmented with mainly brown spots.
- Although barn owls are not sexually dimorphic, male and females can be differentiated by their sizes.
- Female barn owls are more giant and have more pigmented plumage.
- Barn owls have a length of thirty-two and forty centimetres which is shorter than the size of the red-hawk.
- Their wings can expand to a hundred to one hundred and twenty-five centimetres similar to a child extending his arms.
- Barn owls do not hoot like other owls; instead, they have a screeching and hissing call identical to a scream.
- Due to their surviving capabilities, barn owls are mainly found in diverse habitats like deserts, grasslands, forests, cliffs, savannas, and even in urban areas.
- Barn owls are found everywhere in the world except Antarctica.
- Barn owl’s diet mainly includes small mammals like mice, rats, and squirrels. They also prefer to eat birds, reptiles; snakes, lizards etc.
- Barn owls can nest almost where they find an opportunity(hole). These owls nest in burrows, in the cavities of cliffs, in boxes, in the spaces between buildings etc.
- The female is capable of laying two to eleven eggs, but majorly four to five eggs are laid, and they have an incubation period of twenty-nine to thirty-four days.
- The baby owls learn to fly after 60 days of learning.
- It is an interesting fact that the owls once take their first flight must return to their original nest after a few weeks.
- Barn owls have maximum seeing and hearing capabilities, and they usually hunt in no light by taking the aid of their seeing and hearing senses.
- Barn owl’s feathers are also known as ” silent wings” because when air crosses over their wings, they do not produce any loud sound.
- Barn owls are similar to a cat in size, but they don’t weigh much, only almost a pound.
Barn owl habitat
Barn owls are also famous for being ghosts because when they fly in the night and also being white, they give a significant glimpse of a demon. Barn owls are divided into different kinds of species and subspecies. The plumage is mainly white, grey, and buffed. Barn owls have a different flight from other owls because they have broad spread wings but short tails.
Barn owls have fantastic survival instincts and unimaginable adaptation techniques. Thus they can inhabit diverse ranges of habitats. Generally, they prefer to nest in those places where there is plenty of water because in such areas prey are present in abundance.
Barn owls plans among available Nesting options, pick a nest and then they remain there unless the prey remains there. Once the area becomes depleted of prey, the barn owls leave that nesting place. Barn owls prefer to nest in holes, cliff’s spaces, barns, cavities in the church walls and any other kind of depression where they can build a nest. However, in the wild, the primary habitat of these owls are meadows, grasslands and s7ch areas where there are more trees.
Barn owl meaning
In the Dictionary, barn owls indicate heart-shaped owls with prominent dark-coloured black eyes. They have slender legs, with sharp talons and claws. They are fond of nesting in holes, cavities in trees, in farm buildings and several cliff spaces and depressions.
Barn owl kid facts
We love barn owls as they are most abundant, below are some interesting and amazing facts about Barn owls which you do not know before:
- Barn owls are mostly dependent upon mice, rats, voles, shrews as their diet.
- They eat their prey as a whole as they do not have teeth to chew; however, the hard content of the victim like bones and indigestible fur are thrown out in the form of owl pellets.
- Unlike the Tawny owl’s barn, owls don’t hoot in the night; instead, they have a shrieking call.
- Tyto alba alba is the Latin version of the scientific name of the barn owls.
- Like eagles barn owls also possess slender long legs, talons and claws to catch or scoop up the prey while flying.
- Barn owls are mostly nocturnal, and they prefer to hunt at night, they have superpowers in the form of their hearing and seeing abilities, and so they can detect even a little sensation of a rat and vole out there and can quickly grab them.
- In addition to their hearing capabilities barn owls have super sensitive eyesight as well, they can detect a mouse even in a dark environment also if it is moving very slowly.
- Barn owls have specialized wings which make a minimal sound while they are flying and hunting in this way the prey do not get any idea if the owl is over them or not. However, they cannot retain water like other birds and can get wet quickly.
- Barn owls have their ears placed explicitly to detect every single sound, and one ear is present at a slightly higher position than the other.
- In a year barn owls eat almost 1460 mammals that are 4 mammals per night/day.
Barn owl food
Usually, barn owls prefer to eat small mammals like rodents including rats, mouse, squirrels etc. however, in addition to this when they do not find these they have to meet their nutritional requirements though, therefore, they also munch upon reptiles, fishes, amphibians and some more giant insects. Barn owls march from one perch to the other in order to find food. They prefer such areas which are closer to a water source so they can find more food. Barn owls use a technique of slow flight in order to catch their food. Like eagles, they keep on scanning over a particular land area, and as soon as they hear or see a prey, they fly down and grab them with their sharp claws.
Barn owls adaptations
Barn owls have adapted themselves for several environments, and that is the only reason that they are capable of inhabiting almost every part of the world except Antarctica. Below are the adaptations that barn owls have evolved by the time:
- Unlike other birds, barn owls have developed such plumage that supports large wings attached to a smaller body.
- Flight adaptation enables them to get a lift even from slightest air, and so they can hover in the air very slowly with minimum sound.
- The phenomenon of flying slowly provides barn owls time to locate and grab their prey.
- The slow flight also makes them fly with minimal effort, and so they can travel with minimum noise.
- The feathers of the owls are very soft and gentle, and this feature also helps them in slow flight.
- The first wing of the owl has a very tiny hook-like depression that also aids in minimizing the sound while flying.
- As they do not produce noise while flying, this feature enables them to listen to the movements of prey even when they are flying.
- Unlike other birds, the feathers of the owl do not produce the wax thing that is why their wings are not waterproof.
- Barn owls do not prefer to hunt in the rain as their arms do not allow it.
- The heart-shaped face of the barn owls helps them to redirect the sound to the inner walls of the ears
- The ear holes are present alongside the eyes
- Eyes and ears work in coordination to pinpoint the prey location.
- Any mammals moving in the grass produces high-frequency sensitive sounds; the ears of the barn owls can easily detect such sounds.
- Barn owls can hunt in total darkness easily.
- The barn owls has eyes with low light sensitivity, and it enables them to recognize anything which shows the slightest movement quickly.
- If owls are exposed to bright lights, they may lose their vision temporarily. However, that does not mean they cannot see in daylight.
- Barn owls have long legs with sharp gripping claws that aids in the capturing of prey.
- The nails or talons of the barn owls are so intense that the victim is killed spontaneously when they grab them.
- Due to their mottled plumage, barn owls camouflage themselves very well.
Barn owl at night
As the moon changes according to the lunar cycle, so does the moonlight. So how does the barn owls manage these lights from low to high? We think that with the increase in the moonlight it will be easy for them to hunt, but as the sun intensifies they are easily detected by prey. So in the full moon, hunting becomes more hardened and hard for barn owls.
How long does a barn owl live?
Like all the owls, barn owls also have long lives, and they usually outlive their owners. In the wild and in captivity they do have very long lives until they have abundant food supply and also they are living in good condition. Barn owls can live for twenty years; however, they mostly live for ten to fifteen years.
What is special about barn owls?
Barn owls have a heart-shaped face which distinguishes them from other owls. They also do have dark-coloured bright eyes. Unlike other birds, the feathers of the owls are not waterproof. They also have low-light vision. Barn owls have amazing capabilities that enable them to live in almost all kinds of habitat.
Where does a barn owl live?
Barn owls are widely distributed throughout the world from northern Canada to Southern America. They also inhabit Europe, South Asia, America, Australia and islands near the oceans. Hawaii does not have native barn owls; therefore, they were introduced there.
Is Barn owl dangerous?
Incidents of Barn owls attacking humans are very rare. But that does not mean they cannot attack. As soon as they feel threatened by you, they can give you a hiss like a rattle-snake to show you that you are crossing their comfort limit. Just let them be, and they won’t hurt you.
Why do Barn owls scream?
The typical owls hoot while barn owls do not cry; instead, they produce a hissing, and screeching sound. These calls are mostly done by males to attract a mate. However, females also use these calls to show their need for food. These calls can last for two seconds.
What animal eats a barn owl?
Every predator is someone’s prey in the predator-prey cycle. Similarly, barn owls have also eaten up by racoons, eagles, Didelphis, and other large hawks.