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Barn Owls: Tytonidae

Physical Characteristics, Geographic Range, Behavior And Reproduction, Common Barn Owl (tyto Alba): Species AccountHABITAT, DIET, BARN OWLS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS


Barn owls need a mix of wooded areas and open space. They also require tree cavities, caves, or other protected areas for nest sites.

Barn owls eat mostly small mammals such as voles and mice. They will also take birds, reptiles, amphibians, and large insects, however. In Australia, where there are no native mammals, barn owls prey on small marsupials. Barn owl pellets have a distinctive dark coating of mucus.

With their pale feathers and eerie calls, barn owls are sometimes called "ghost owls" or "spirit owls." In many cultures, they are regarded as associates of witches. They have a long history of living in association with humans. Evidence from Pleistocene cave dwellings shows that owls and humans shared the same caves.

Three species are listed as Endangered, facing a very high risk of extinction, on the IUCN Red List, the Madagascar red owl, Africa bay owl, and the Taliabu masked owl. One barn owl species, the Minahassa masked owl, is listed as Vulnerable, facing a high risk of extinction.

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Animal Life ResourceBirds