The Barn Owl

The Barn Owl

Barn Owl couple, femelle left, male right

Brief Background

The Barn Owl is known in Ornithology as Tyto Alba. The Little Owl to Strigiforme Order. This study will cover all the necessary parts of Ornithology in order to have a better view concerning this bird.

Appearance and Behaviour

Length: 32-40 cm (12.50-16 inches); wing: 265-290 mm (10-11 inches); wingspan: 90-96cm (3.50-3.70 inches); tail: 110-126 mm (04-05 inches); beak: 22-30 mm (0.86-01.20 inches). Weight: 335 g.

Alba Race (clear form): white face mask edged with pale brown, reddish patch marked with silvery grey on the head, back, wings and tail. Flight feathers are barred with grey. Abdominal part is white with brown speckles; high and clearly visible white legs.

Guttata Race (dark form): dirty white face mask mixed with darker stripes around the eyes; gray dorsal part; turning to reddish at the abdominal part.

Guttata Race (dark form)

Alba Race (clear form)

This pretty owl, with face mask in the shape of a heart, is the “white lady” of our countryside, the one that frequents attics, bell towers, barns and other hovels. These night birds are still surprised by the car’s headlights, and which, unfortunately too often, perishes on the road. Discreet during the day, it does not leave the lodge until nightfall, then in a supple and silent flight its territory marked out by a series of lookout posts.

Barn Owl couple, femelle left, male right

Food

Variable depending on the region and the season, the barn owl’s diet consists of 84% voles and other rodents, 12% shrews, 3% birds, some amphibians and insects supplementing the daily ration. Usually swallowed, these birds regurgitate two daily balls of indigested prey leftover of 6 cm long and 2 to 3 cm in diameter.

The Barn Owl's voice sample

Reproduction

Undoubtedly, very loyal to each other, the partners also show a deep attachment to their territory. If the barn owl uses old trees for shelter, many nesters have opted for human constructions, whether it is an abandoned farm or a nesting box.

The Barn Owl’s eggs

It is there, on a mattress of more or less thick ball forms, sometimes also in the straw, that the female deposits between mid-April and the beginning of June, around 4 to 7 white eggs, laid 2 or 3 days apart. Medium size of the egg: 31 x 40 mm (1.20-1.60 inches); weight 20 g. the barn owl can have up to 16 eggs during the fertile years, on the contrary, not laying even one egg during the lean years.

Likewise, the second spawning which is not regular can be observed from July to October. Supplied by the male, the female alone provides the 32 to 34 days of incubation which begins as soon as the first egg is laid. Males and females participate in the feeding of the newly born birds. The young birds are feathered at the age of 2 months and be able to fly between 65 and 86 days.

Migration

If the young are content with a dispersal of 50 to 60 km, climatic conditions and especially the abundance of rodents can cause much larger movements; famine sometimes forces the adults themselves to abandon their local lands. The cold and the snow can cause heavy losses; many die of starvation, especially in January and February. Large variations in the populations and fecundity of these birds follow.

Distribution

Represented in all temperate regions, the barn owl, which has 8 breeds, this bird is present in Europe from the British Isles to the south of the Iberian Peninsula, and from North Africa to Ukraine, present in Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily, in South Sweden and in Denmark.

A final word

We hope that this article helped you to get a better understanding of birds. For more articles retated to  Ornithology in specific or animals in general please visit our Animal Category.

Recent Articles