What do they look like? Barn owls are medium-sized birds with long legs that are sparsely feathered down to their grey toes. Barn owls are very striking in appearance. They have forward facing eyes ,hooked beak and a heart shaped face. Females tend to be larger and have a slightly longer body length and wingspan than males.
Where do they live? Barn owls occupy a vast range of habitats from rural to urban. They prefer warm climates with mild winters. Nearby open grassland is essential, however, for hunting. They will nest in many different locations, including trees, cliffs, caves, riverbanks, church steeples, barn lofts, hay stacks, and nest boxes.
What do they eat? Barn owls are nocturnal predators that prefer small mammals like mice and rats as well as insects such as moths. As an aid for detecting movement in grassland, they have developed highly specialized low-light vision. When hunting in complete darkness, the owl relies on its acute hearing to capture prey. Barn owls are the most accurate birds at locating prey by sound. Barn owls attack their prey in low flights, capture the prey with their feet, and nip through the back of the skull with the bill. Prey is then swallowed whole.
Behaviour: When barn owls are not breeding, they are solitary. Barn owls are normally strictly nocturnal. They typically roost in tree cavities, cliff crevices, or in riverbanks, but can also be found roosting in many human structures such as barns, nest boxes, and churches.
Reproduction: Barn Owls are monogamous. The female typically lays four to seven solid white eggs in a dark space surrounded by pellets. She then incubates them for 29 to 34 days. Young birds usually become independent of adults in mid-to late summer. Due to the short life span of barn owls (2 years on average), most individuals breed only once or twice.
Threats: Although Barn Owls have learned to adapt to Urban development by taking up residents in homes and buildings their future is threatened due to secondary poisoning. Barn Owls will feed upon weakened rodents that have taken poison baits. The poison in the rodents enters the blood stream of the owl and it dies a slow and painful death.
Conservation Status: Common.