Barn Owl: Medium-sized owl with glaring white, heart-shaped facial disk, no ear tufts, and long legs. Upperparts are orange-brown with fine white spots and dark bars. Underparts are white with small black spots. Feeds primarily on small mammals, also takes small birds. Slow silent mothlike flight.
Range and Habitat
Barn Owl: Occurs on every continent except Antarctica. Found in a vast range of habitats, from rural to urban, but prefers warm climates with mild winters. Nearby open grassland is essential; rarely found in deep forests or mountains.
The Barn Owl has a tremendously large range around the globe, spanning an astounding 44 million square kilometers. The population of the Barn Owl is thought to be around 5 million individual birds. This bird is native to dozens of countries around the globe and can be found on practically any continent. The Barn Owl has a current rating of Least Concern due to its astounding population and global range. This rating has been downgraded from Lower Risk in 2000.
Barn Owls are encouraged to nest in certain agricultural areas because of their ability to control rodents better than traps or poisons and at no cost. Research indicates that they eat twice as much prey for their weight as other owls.
Their uncanny sense of hearing is aided by their asymmetrically placed ears. They are able to use this sense to capture prey hidden by snow or vegetation. Their ears have feathered flaps that can close to provide protection if they encounter sound that is too intense.
They typically approach their prey from a low flight path. Grasping the prey with their feet, they use their beak to bite through the back of the skull. Prey is swallowed whole. They are also known to cache food when nesting.
A group of owls has many collective nouns, including a "bazaar", "glaring", "parliament", "stooping", and "wisdom" of owls.