Description of the Barn Owl


The Barn Owl has tawny and gray upperparts, a large, heart-shaped pale face with dark eyes, and long legs.


barn owl


Females have tawny underparts.

Seasonal change in appearance



Juveniles wear a second covering of natal down, grayish-white or buffy in color.


Barn Owls inhabit semi-open country with barns and scattered trees.


Barn Owls eat rodents.


Barn Owls forage at night, flying low and listening for prey.


Barn Owls are resident throughout much of the U.S., except for some northern and central portions. It is a cosmopolitan species, occurring on six continents. The population is declining.

More information:

Bent Life History

Visit the Bent Life History for extensive additional information on the Barn Owl.

Fun Facts

Barn Owls have asymmetrically placed ears for triangulating sound, allowing them to catch rodents in pitch darkness.

Barn Owls can nest at any time of year in some locations if food supplies are plentiful.


A common call consists of a rasping shriek.


The Barn Owl does not construct a nest, though it may excavate a tunnel into a dirt bank. It frequently nests in old barns, dry wells, church steeples, or nest boxes.

Number: usually 4-8.

Color: White in color.

Incubation and fledging:
The young hatch at about 30 days, and leave the nest in about another 45-60 days, though continuing to associate with the adults for some time.

barn owl