Barn Owl


Barn Owl

Scientific Name

Tyto alba


Barn owls are medium sized birds with large wings and a lightweight body. They have large eyes and a distinct white face. Generally speaking, females have darker plumage (feathers) and males tend to be lighter coloured.

The barn owl is well-adapted for hunting at night. They have a concave collection of feathers on their face (called a facial disk) which funnels sound into their ears, increasing their ability to hear prey. In addition, they have soft feathers which muffle sound so they can fly in total silence.

Barn owls usually breed in the spring. However, breeding may be delayed if the weather conditions are bad. They usually produce 4 to 6 eggs in a clutch - although they have been known to produce up to 12 eggs. The owlets will fledge (leave the nest) at around 50 days. Sadly, the majority of young owls will perish within the first year. 


Barn owls mostly eat small mammals like mice, voles, rats and shrews. They occasionally eat small amphibians too.

Size Fact

Barn owls grow to 30-40 cm in length.

Food Fact

Barn owls will often kill more than they can eat and stockpile the food for later.

Fun Fact

The owls don’t hoot like other owls. Instead the barn owl makes a hissing or shrieking sound.

IUCN Red list

Barn owls are classified as Least Concern on the IUCN red list. 

Where do I live?

Barn owls are one of the most widely distributed birds in the world and can be found on every continent apart from Antarctica.


Daily talk

The barn owl regularly features in the Bird of Prey Display at 2:30pm each day.

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