Barn Owl Facts
- Scientific name: Tyto alba
- Classification: Aves
- Family: Tytonidae
- Habitat: Farmland/grassland
- Diet: Mainly small mammals
- Weight: 9.2-19.6 oz, depending on species
- Size: 13-15 inches in length
- Speed: 30-40 miles per hour
- Lifespan: Up to 20 years
- Conservation: Not under threat
- Geography: The Barn Owl Is Found on Every Continent Except Antarctica
- Food: Food Supply Dictates How Many Eggs a Barn Owl Will Hatch
- Lifestyle: Barn Owls are Monogamous
- Wildlife: Barn Owl Eggs Hatch in an Asynchronous Way
- Wildlife: Barn Owl Chicks Fly After 55 Days
- Wildlife: Barn Owls Don’t Hoot!
- Biology: Barn Owls Look Different Depending on Where They Come From
- Biology: Barn Owls Breed Between April and May
- Wildlife: Barn Owls are not Endangered, but are in Decline
- Wildlife: Barn Owls Only Occupy Their Nests During the Day
- A Barn Owl’s Flight Is Totally Silent
- The Barn Owl’s Vision Is Superior to many Other Birds
- Barn Owls Do Not Make Nests to Incubate Eggs
- Barn Owls Cannot Digest Everything They Eat
- A Barn Owl Could Hear A Mouse Heartbeat in a Large Room!
Barn Owl Facts Infographics
The Barn Owl Is Found on Every Continent Except Antarctica
The first of our interesting barn owl facts concerns where it is found around the world. It is one of the few birds that can be found on every continent in the world apart from Antarctica. This is mainly because it is a bird that prefers warmer, temperate climates and does not like cold winters. Scotland is the most northerly country with breeding barn owls in the Northern hemisphere.
Food Supply Dictates How Many Eggs a Barn Owl Will Hatch
If the food supply is low, there will be fewer eggs laid and they may be of a smaller size, resulting in a smaller brood of owls to hatch. If there is a plentiful food supply, eggs will tend to be laid earlier and result in much bigger and stronger broods. Mice, voles and shrews form the bulk of the diet of the barn owl, though they have been observed to take small fish from ponds too.
Barn Owls are Monogamous
The next in our series of barn owl facts tells us a little about how they mate. Barn owls generally are monogamous creatures, and will “couple” with other owls faithfully until they die. However, sometimes, a male barn owl will couple with two female owls at the same time in a bigamous partnership.
Barn Owl Eggs Hatch in an Asynchronous Way
Asynchronous means that each egg will hatch precisely 30 days after it was laid. This can mean that in larger broods of owls, some chicks may actually end up being a few weeks younger or older than their siblings! The number of eggs laid can vary, with anything between 4 and 7 eggs considered normal. However, there have been some cases in which as many as 14 eggs were laid!
Barn Owl Chicks Fly After 55 Days
The next in our series on barn owl facts tells us about how soon owl chicks learn to fly. Typically, they will take their first flight between 50 and 55 days after they were hatched. It takes another month for them to become fully independent of their parents, though.
Barn Owls Don’t Hoot!
How many of us assume that all owls make the same calls? We’re used to thinking that they use a call that sounds like a twit-twoo or a hooting sound. However, this isn’t always the case. Where barn owls are concerned, the male of the species is actually more likely to make a sharp shrieking call which will last for a few seconds and be repeated several times in succession.
Barn Owls Look Different Depending on Where They Come From
For instance, if you see a barn owl in Britain, you will notice that it has a very distinctive white breast. However, travel into central Europe, and you’ll notice that barn owls their looks are very different, their feathers being a shade closer to dark yellow and orange. The British birds are typically indigenous to the United Kingdom and won’t move far during their life time. However, the birds that are already in continental Europe are regularly seen in other countries and, in particular, the Eastern side of Britain!
Barn Owls Breed Between April and May
They will typically begin what we would describe as their courtship in the months of February and March, which then leads to them starting to breed in April and May. The female of the species will start to hatch her eggs during these two months. This can sometimes be delayed depending on the weather conditions and how temperate the climate is. Once the eggs have hatched and the baby owls have been born, a rather sad statistic reveals that around only 30% of them will survive into adulthood.
Barn Owls are not Endangered, but are in Decline
This next in our series on barn owl facts tells us a little about how protected they are as a species. Sadly, in the 20th century, the species fell into somewhat of a decline. This was primarily due to large portions of their natural habitats (farmlands and grasslands) becoming unsuitable or being destroyed. The primary reason for them becoming unsuitable was due to the increasing use of chemicals, such as rodenticides, in farming. These chemicals kill off the owls’ prey, but are also harmful to the owls themselves. In Britain, a move to create more nest box schemes to save barn owls has been successful.
Barn Owls Only Occupy Their Nests During the Day
A barn owl only occupies its nest during the day, and not at night. Owls hunt for their prey at dusk, meaning this is the best time to see them, primarily round the edges of fields, near areas of rough vegetation and by riverbanks. The only time you might see a barn owl leave its nest during the day is if it has been disturbed and is in trouble, so if you see this happening, you should contact the relevant wildlife group in your area.
A Barn Owl’s Flight Is Totally Silent
This next in our series on barn owl Facts is a surprising one. Many people might assume that you would be able to hear all birds in flight at some stage during their journey. A barn owl’s flight is totally silent from take-off to landing. This is primarily because of the way its feathers are formed. The wings are made up of feathers that are very soft round the edges, which means that they don’t make any noise at all when they “swoosh” and move.
The Barn Owl’s Vision Is Superior to many Other Birds
Barn owls can usually easily find their prey at night by sight alone, unlike other birds who may have to rely on their other senses. They also use their hearing to locate small mammals, such as mice, on the ground. They can then swoop down and catch them unawares in complete darkness. Their eyes have what is known as binocular vision. Owls can also judge the distance of their prey more effectively than other birds, too.
Barn Owls Do Not Make Nests to Incubate Eggs
We often talk about birds that nest, and we do so even in the case of barn owls, but, in actual fact, while they do nest in trees and in cliffs once they have chicks, they would never make a nest to incubate eggs in. Barn owls create a hollow in the ground which is surrounded with detritus and debris. The female owl will then lay her eggs into the nest and leave them for between 29 and 35 days until they hatch.
Barn Owls Cannot Digest Everything They Eat
The penultimate of our barn owl facts is a bit of a gross one! Even though their prey is small mammals, they cannot always fully digest the bones of these creatures, because the acid in their stomach is not strong enough. Therefore, whatever they cannot digest, they regurgitate in small pellets which they cough up through their beaks. Scientists have discovered that these pellets are actually perfectly formed, with the bones inside them – carefully wrapped in small pieces of the mammal’s fur!
A Barn Owl Could Hear A Mouse Heartbeat in a Large Room!
The last of our barn owl facts relates to their hearing. It is believed their hearing is so powerful that if they were placed in a 30-feet square room, with a mouse hidden in it somewhere, they would be able to detect where it was purely from being able to hear its heartbeat! They have an amazing ability to sense the slightest movement and sound. Their ears are located next to their eyes in what is called their facial disc. This part of their face filters and funnels sounds and gives these creatures their ability to detect prey at such great distances.
Barn Owl Facts – Facts about Barn Owls Summary
Facts about barn owls tell us that this is a species found everywhere in the world, except Antarctica. They are a monogamous species and will mate from February to March and hatch their eggs during April and May. They feed on small mammals, but cannot always easily digest their bones so regurgitate them as perfectly formed pellets! Finally, their sight and hearing is so acute that they could detect a mouse’s heartbeat in a 30-feet square room.