Barn Owl

STATUSLeast Concern

COMMON NAME (SCIENTIFIC NAME)Tyto alba

DIETVarious mammals - rodents to bats and sometimes even rabbits

RANGEAll of the lower 48 states of the US and South America

HABITATGrasslands, marshes, brushy fields, agricultural fields, and other forms of open habitat

Barn Owl

Physical Description

Barn owls can be identified by their heart-shaped facial disk, white underparts, and long legs. Owl eyes are so big that there is little room for eye muscles, meaning owls can’t move their eyes. Instead, owls move their entire head turning their heads about 270 degrees in either direction.


Predators

Foxes, bobcats, coyotes, bears, and occasionally snakes and other birds of prey.


Lifespan

In the wild, owls live on average around 5-10 years. Under human care they can live up to 30 years.


Reproduction

Owls are usually solitary outside of breeding season. Male owls may bring offerings of food, dropping the item near the female, who is usually much larger, to catch her interest. If prey is scarce, only two or three eggs may be laid; if food is easily available, then six or more eggs may be laid. Chicks generally hatch two days apart, with the oldest chicks getting the most food. Young owl chicks are cared for by their mother for about three months.


Fun Facts

  • Having the most sensitive hearing of all owls, the barn owl can pinpoint the direction and distance of rustling prey in total darkness.
  • Not a hooting owl, this bird makes raspy screeches, hisses, and clicks with its beak.

Conservation Messaging

Most of the Bird of Prey here at the zoo are all rehabilitated birds who have sustained different injuries deeming them unreleasable. These birds fall victim to debris found on the side of the road. If it’s an apple core, banana peel, or some discarded trash it will attract their prey items which will then attract the bird of prey. Birds of prey have tunnel vision when hunting and will often not see a car coming. One simple way we can help is to dispose of all your trash properly, even natural items like apple cores and banana peels.

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