(Tyto alba)

Length:  30-40 cm Locally Uncommon

The Barn Owl is nocturnal, and one of the most widespread of all birds. In Australia its preference is for roosting, and nesting in large deep tree hollows. The white heart shaped face, and the black eyes give the flying bird a startling appearance.

Its habitat is diverse, and it may be found in woodland, grassland, farmland, buildings, and caves. The Barn Owl does not hoot, instead it produces a “shreeiir” scream. There are tiny serrations on the leading edges of its flight feathers which break up air flow. The effect of this is to reduce turbulence, and the noise that accompanies it.

Barn Owls feed primarily on rodents which they catch with their claws. A nesting pair, and their young can eat more than a 1000 rodents per year. The Barn Owl has asymmetrically placed ears which improve its ability to identify the point of origin of a sound. It does not require sight to hunt, and can seize rodents with deadly accuracy.

Breeding may take place at any time that prey is abundant. Eggs 4 to 7 The average life span of this nomadic bird is 4 years.

61 62