About The Barn Owl

The Barn Owl is generally light gray on top with some dark lines and pale spots. On the bottom, the Barn Owl is generally white with some black spots. Its wings and back has buff markings as well. Its face is heart-shaped and is usually white and lined with brown on the edge. Near the eyes, you can also find some brown markings. The Barn Owl has an off-white beak while its feet range fro yellow-white to brownish.

The male and female do not differ much in size and in color. The immature Barn Owl usually has more spots. The Barn Owl measures in at 32-40 cm (12.5-15.5 in) with a wingspan of 107-110 cm (42-43 in) and a weight of 470-570 grams.

The Barn Owl Nesting Preferences

Most Barn Owls nest in high places – up to 20 meters high. However, Barn Owls are not really known for being good nest builders. In fact, they usually look around for existing nests. Once they find a suitable nest, they also re-use it year after year.

Building a Birdhouse For The Barn Owl

The US Department of Interior suggests the following dimensions (inches) for a Barn Owl birdhouse:

Floor Size:10 X 18
Depth:15 – 18
Entrance Height:4
Whole Diameter:6
Height Above Ground (feet):12 – 18

The Barn Owl Feeding Preferences

The Barn Owl’s main fare consists of voles or field mice. They also feed on other small rodents such as rats. Other food items include pocket gophers, baby rabbits, bats, frogs, lizards, birds, and insects.
Barn Owls usually perch on low branches or fence posts while looking for their prey on the ground. They also frequent open grasslands to hunt for food. The Barn Owl population has been known to increase rapidly due to the increase in mouse populations.

The Barn Owl Mating Habits

The Barn Owl does not have a specific breeding season. It mainly depends on the food supply. To attract the female, the male Barn Owl uses a special call. It also hovers in front of the female to show off its chest and belly. This is called the moth flight. During courtship, both male and female fly around chasing each other all the while calling out to each other as well.
Though some owls are monogamous, the Barn Owl may have different partners to produce several broods. This happens especially during times of abundant prey. This can also occur when the first brood is lost due to one reason or another.

Interesting Barn Owl Facts

  • The Barn Owl is known all over the world and has numerous names. It also goes by Monkey-faced Owl, Ghost Owl, Church Owl, Death Owl, Hissing Owl, Hobgoblin or Hobby Owl, Golden Owl, Silver Owl, White Owl, Night Owl, Rat Owl, Straw Owl, Barnyard Owl and Delicate Owl.
  • The name Barn Owl is derived from the fact that it likes to nest in barn lofts and church steeples.
  • Barn Owls do not live for long. In fact, though their average lifespan in 1-2 years in the wild, many of them do not live to see their first year through.