Barn Owl facts

A few Barn Owl facts to start you off!

Watch our short video to find out some amazing facts about Barn Owls with David Ramsden The Barn Owl Trust’s Head of Conservation

What do Barn Owls look like?


Barn Owl facts printable pdf (*free for personal or educational use only)

Take a look at our gallery of Barn Owl photos

What sounds do Barn Owls make?

Listen to Barn Owl calls: – click the arrow below

Barn Owls make eerie screeching and hissing noises.

Young owlets (and females prior to nesting) will make food begging calls.

If you regularly hear an owl hooting, it is likely to be a Tawny Owl. Hear what other UK owls sound like on our owl identification page.

Have you seen a wild Barn Owl in the UK? Please record your sighting on our Barn Owl survey website.

How can you tell if a Barn Owl is male or female?

It is almost impossible to tell if a Barn Owl is male or female just seeing it fly overhead. However, a close look may give you a clue. Females often have darker brown feathers around the rim of the facial disc as well as darker bars on the tail and small black spots on the chest and underside of the wings. Males are generally lighter and a more pure white underneath.

Females are slightly heavier than males at around 360g (males usually weigh around 330g) although during the early breeding season females may weigh as much as 425g before egg laying. Barn Owl normal and starvation weights.

Take a look at our photoguide to sexing Barn Owls

Field guide: Where are you likely to find Barn Owls? 

Discover where Barn Owls live with David Ramsden

What do Barn Owls eat?

Barn Owls are birds of prey, hunting and catching small mammals, mostly Field Voles here in the UK. They have some extraordinary specially adapted characteristics to help them hunt for food at night, such as incredibly sensitive hearing and the ability to see movement with very little light.

Field Vole

There are loads more interesting facts and information about Barn Owls to discover!