Barn Owl

(Tyto alba)




Facts about this animal

The Barn Owl is a medium-sized owl with a wingspan of 100-125 cm and a size of 32-40 cm. The weight is 400-700 g. It has a white or mostly with underside, a heart-shaped, white face and golden-grey coloured upperparts. Females are larger than males and more spotted on the breast. The spots may signal to a potential mate the quality of the female.
Barn owls generally hunt small rodents, especially voles and mice, but they also eat young rabbits, bats, frogs, lizards, birds and insects.
Barn owls breed in buildings (barns!), in natural cavities, above or below ground, among rocks or in tree holes where they scrape shallow depression on nest floor or reuse old nest sites. There are 3-5 <strong>eggs</strong> in a clutch, which are incubated by the female while the male feeds her for about 31 days.

Did you know?
that barn owls are able to consume twice as much food as other owls in comparison to their weight? Farmers and ranchers are, therefore, increasingly attracted to the barn owl's ability to control rodents better than traps, poison, or cats.


Class AVES
Name (Scientific) Tyto alba
Name (English) Barn Owl
Name (French) Chouette effraie
Name (German) Schleiereule
Name (Spanish) Lechuza común
Local names Afrikaans: Nonnetjie-uil
Czech: Sova pálená
Danish: Slørugle
Dutch: Kerkuil
Finnish: Tornipöllö
Hungarian: Gyöngybagoly
Italian: Barbagianni
Latvian; Lettish: Plivurpuce
Polish: Plomykówka
Portuguese: Coruja-das-torres
Russian: Sipukha
Swedish: Tornuggla
CITES Status Appendix II
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Matt Khoth



Range Nearly a world-wide distribution
Habitat Found in virtually all habitats but much more abundantly in open woodland, heaths and moors than forested country.
Wild population Approx. 4'900'000 (2003)
Zoo population 646 reported to ISIS (2005)

In the Zoo

Barn Owl


How this animal should be transported

Owls travel best in completely dark boxes. Boxes should be slightly longer than the head to tail length of the bird intended to travel, and wide and high enough for the bird to be able to stand or lie down in comfort without banging its shoulders or head. A well made wooden box with no perches is required, with carpet or some other non slip surface fixed on the floor and a padded ceiling, with air-holes on either side. The easiest type of door to use is an upward sliding door at one end. The door can then be slid up a small amount; the bird visualised before being grasped by the legs, carefully, through the small opening before sliding the door fully open for removal. A handle fixed to the top of the box makes carrying easier.

For air transport, Container Note 20 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Luc Viatour

Why do zoos keep this animal

Zoos very often receive injured barn owls and try to rehabilitate them. If this is not possible, the birds may stay in the collection. Barn owl are of interest for environmental education as they are a biological means of pest control, and in a few instances conservation breeding is practised with a view of restocking depleted wild populations.