About the Barn Owl
A brief description
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The Barn Owl is a stunningly beautiful bird with golden/buff coloured upper parts laced with silver grey and white under-parts. It has a distinctive white heart shaped face and when seen in flight the overall impression is of a large white bird. The flight is buoyant and wonderfully graceful, the wings (spanning 85cm) are much bigger than the body. A Barn Owl is fully grown from only ten weeks old, it stands 25cm tall (from head to feet) and is 33-35cm from the top of its head to the tip of its tail. Barn Owls shriek and hiss, they don't hoot (that's the Tawny Owl).
Male or Female?
Although there is a small degree of size variation this is not sex-linked. The sexes can be difficult to tell apart, particularly in the field. Females often have darker upper surfaces and small black spots on the underside. Males usually weigh around 330g and females around 360g although during the breeding season females may weigh as much as 400g.
Barn Owls hunt mainly from the air (rather than from a perch) and have some amazing adaptations enabling them to find and catch small mammals hidden in deep vegetation in the dark. They don't generally venture into dense woodland but will forage over any open habitat that supports a population of small mammals. Barn Owls may roost or nest in any structure or tree that meets their requirements.