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Barn Owl

Barn Owl
Scientific classification
Genus: Tyto
Species: alba
Binomial name
Tyto alba

The Barn Owl, Tyto alba is an owl in the barn owl family Tytonidae. This is one of the two groups of owls, the other being the typical owls Strigidae.

These are pale, long-winged, long-legged owls, with an effortless wavering flight as they quarter pastures or similar hunting grounds.

There are a number of races differing in underpart colour. For example, T. a. alba of western Europe is almost pure white below, whereas T.a. guttata of central Europe is orange. All races have grey and ochre upperparts.

These are birds of open country such as farmland. They are fairly sedentary and nocturnal or crepuscular.

Barn Owls occur worldwide, on every continent except Antarctica. Sometimes they are called monkey-faced owls because of their appearance. Other common names are church owl, golden owl, rat owl, and stone owl.

Barn Owls feed on voles, frogs and insects, but are economically valuable birds as they also prey on animal pests like rats, moles and mice. In the wild, barn owls typically live for 5-11 years.

Other than human persecution, they have few predators, although large owls such as the European Eagle-Owl[?] and the Great Horned Owl[?] will kill smaller species if the opportunity arises.


  1. "Researchers uncover the neural details of how Barn Owls locate sound sources" (Cover Story) by Charles Day. Physics Today June 2001 v54 i6 p20
  2. "How now, barn owl" by David Tipling, New Scientist, 1/14/95, Vol. 145 Issue 1960, p43
  3. "Barn Owls: Predator-Prey Relationships and Conservation" by Iain Taylor, ISBN 052139290X, Cambridge University Press, 1994

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