The Common Barn Owl

The Common Barn Owl (Tyto Alba), or Barn Owl as it is most often called, belongs to the owl family ‘Tytonidae’.

There are two families of owls: Tytonidae (barn owls) and Strigidae (true/typical owls). Of the Tytonidae family, there are two living subfamilies, the Tytoninae, which are the Tyto Owls, and the Phodilinae, which are the Bay Owls. The common barn owl belongs to the subfamily Tytoninae, we know this because ‘Tyto’ is in the scientific name for this owl species: Tyto Alba.

The barn owl is possibly the most well-known owl across the world, as it inhabits many places in the world, excluding polar regions, deserts, parts of Asia and Indonesia the Pacific Islands.

Other names for the common barn owl include: White Owl, Silent Owl, Hissing Owl, Death Owl, Rat Owl, Cave Owl, Barnyard Church Owl and Night Owl.

In terms of appearance these owls are nearly all white or buff in colour, although many have darker shades or grey, brown and even musky red and orange. Many also have a tawny colour on their back. Often their heads, backs and wings are covered in fine (or not so fine) speckles of darker colours.In general females tend to have more spots or speckles than males. They have a heart shaped face and have strong talons which they can use for fighting other barn owls for territory and/or a mate. They are medium to large owls.

The wingspan of a common barn owl is 70-110cm (that’s around 29-43 inches), and can be 23-45 cm (9-17 inches) in length, although this depends on the subspecies.

There are many sub-species of the common barn owl, one being Tyto Alba Alba.

The common barn owl is able to fly silently due to the soft feathers that ‘fringe’ it’s wings. This is a great adaptation for the owl as it makes it easier for it to catch prey, as the rodents often don’t hear it coming.

The call of a barn owl is very distinctive; it is a raspy, hissing noise that can sound quite roar, and can often be heard at night in areas they inhabit. Barn owls are nocturnal and usually live on their own or with a mate. Often Tyto Alba owls can be seen just before dusk and sometimes during the day if they are changing sleeping place.

The diet of a common barn owl is generally rodents and insects. Did you know that owls get rid of the bones and fur and other parts of their prey by ‘Yarping it’. This means that their stomach presses it into a tight pellet, which the owl then regurgitates up.

August 2, 2010 · Maddia (Admin) · Comments Closed
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