The most widely distributed species of owl on earth, the common barn owl boasts at least 46 distinct subspecies and can be found everywhere from the Andes to the British Isles to sub-Saharan Africa, on every continent except Antarctica. Natural roosting sites include caves and tree hollows, but this owl gets its name from its fondness for roosting in tall, infrequently disturbed structures like barn lofts and church steeples; they are quite adaptable and live in a variety of habitats. The distinctive heart-shaped face focuses sound like a satellite dish, allowing it to locate prey in complete darkness and even under snow or soil. Often referred to as “Nature’s Mousetrap,” a single barn owl can eat its own weight in mice every night.
Description: Long, rounded wings; short tails; long legs, head is smoothly rounded, without ear tufts; pale overall with mix of buff and gray on the head, back, and upperwings; white on the face, body, and underwings; dark eyes
- Hunt by flying low, back and forth over open habitats
- Raspy call
- Monogamous and mate for life
- Male brings prey to female approximately a month before she lays eggs
- Swallow prey whole