Studies have shown that an individual barn owl may eat one or more voles (or their equivalent) per night, equivalent to about twenty-three percent of the bird's bodyweight.  Historically, many deaths were caused by the use of pesticides, and this may still be the case in some parts of the world. In years with plentiful supplies of food, there may be a hatching success rate of about 75%. Underparts white to golden-buff, with distinct pattern of brown vermiculations or fine dense spots. Barn owls are usually more specialist feeders in productive areas and generalists in drier areas. In Malaysia, large areas of rainforest were felled to make way for oil palm plantations and with few tree cavities for breeding, the barn owl population, with its ability to control rodent pests, diminished. , The chicks are at first covered with greyish-white down and develop rapidly. Farmers often find these owls more effective than poison in keeping down rodent pests, and they can encourage barn owl habitation by providing nest sites. The moult follows a similar prolonged pattern to that of the female and the first sign that the male is moulting is often when a tail feather has been dropped at the roost. A defensive attitude involves lying flat on the ground or crouching with wings spread out. About 12 other large diurnal raptors and owls have also been reported as predators of barn owls, ranging from the similar-sized Cooper's hawk and scarcely larger tawny owl to huge bald and golden eagles.  This owl prefers to hunt along the edges of woods or in rough grass strips adjoining pasture. In temperate climates, nesting seasons become more distinct and there are some seasons of the year when no egg-laying takes place. Collisions with power-lines kill some birds and shooting accounts for others, especially in Mediterranean regions. The barn owl is found almost everywhere in the world except for the polar and desert regions, Asia north of the Himalayas, most of Indonesia, and some Pacific islands. Owls engage in what is known as irruption an unpredictable migration which occurs because of some unusua. In Britain, on various Pacific Islands and perhaps elsewhere, it sometimes hunts by day. , In temperate areas, the male owl moults rather later in the year than the female, at a time when there is an abundance of food, the female has recommenced hunting and the demands of the chicks are lessening. Contrary to what is sometimes assumed, the barn owl does not eat domestic animals of any sort on a regular basis. In the British Isles, the young seem largely to disperse along river corridors and the distance travelled from their natal site averages about 9 km (5.6 mi). Underparts white, with few if any black spots; males often appear entirely unspotted. In winter then, food is generally harder to find at a time when Barn Owls need it most. This is of little importance in the tropics and barn owls here usually moult a complete complement of flight feathers annually. Ghostly pale and normally strictly nocturnal barn owls are silent predators of the night world.  However, the International Ornithological Committee has doubts about this and states that the split of Tyto delicatula from T. alba "may need to be revisited". Upperparts grey and orange-buff. Its legs and toes are long and slender which improves its ability to forage among dense foliage or beneath the snow and gives it a wide spread of talons when attacking prey. Required fields are marked *. The barn owl tyto alba is the most widely distributed species of owl in the world and one of the most widespread of all species of birds. Collision with road vehicles is another cause of mortality, and may result when birds forage on mown verges. A nest box can also be regarded as an animal surveillance device. , On average within any one population, males tend to have fewer spots on the underside and are paler in colour than females. , In the United Kingdom, the "Barn Owl Nest Box Scheme" is promoted by the World Owl Trust and has many participants in local areas such as Somerset, where a webcam has been set up inside a nest box in which 7 young were reared in 2014.  In Africa, the principal predators of barn owls are Verreaux's eagle-owls and Cape eagle-owls. Where a female has lost her mate but maintained her breeding site, she usually seems to manage to attract a new spouse. , Like most owls, the barn owl is nocturnal, relying on its acute sense of hearing when hunting in complete darkness. The barn owl was one of several species of bird first described in 1769 by the Tyrolean physician and naturalist Giovanni Antonio Scopoli in his Anni Historico-Naturales. Surveilling animals can lead to the discovery of new scientific and industrial fields. "Hissing owl" and, particularly in the U.K. and in India, "screech owl", refers to the piercing calls of these birds.  This is primarily because of disappearing grasslands where bird hunted in the past, but according to a study, also because of "harsh winters, predation, road mortality and use of rodenticides".  , Barn owls are not particularly territorial but have a home range inside which they forage. Upperparts golden-brown and grey with very bold pattern. , The barn owl is the most widespread landbird species in the world, occurring in every continent except Antarctica. Oftentimes other birds such as jackdaws (Corvus monedula) nest in the same hollow tree or building and seem to live harmoniously with the owls. For example, biologists and engineers can work on barn owl surveillance techniques and devices, while social scientists document the practices that cause humans to observe an animal. In some areas, it may be an insufficiency of suitable nesting sites that is the factor limiting barn owl numbers.  While wild barn owls are thus decidedly short-lived, the actual longevity of the species is much higher – captive individuals may reach 20 years of age or more. The male is the main provider of food until all the chicks are at least four weeks old at which time the female begins to leave the nest and starts to roost elsewhere. Tyto delicatula Gould, 1837, The barn owl (Tyto alba) is the most widely distributed species of owl in the world and one of the most widespread of all species of birds. On bird-rich islands, a barn owl might include some fifteen to twenty percent of birds in its diet, while in grassland it will gorge itself on swarming termites, or on Orthoptera such as Copiphorinae katydids, Jerusalem crickets (Stenopelmatidae) or true crickets (Gryllidae).  , The provision of nest boxes under the eaves of buildings and in other locations can be very successful in increasing the local population. The female lays eggs on alternate days and the clutch size averages about five eggs (range two to nine). Nest boxes provide direct physical access to the breeding location. , The barn owl is a bird of open country such as farmland or grassland with some interspersed woodland, usually at altitudes below 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) but occasionally as high as 3,000 metres (9,800 ft) in the tropics, such as in Ethiopia's Degua Tembien mountain range. Underparts whitish to light buff with little speckling. Buildings are preferred to trees in wetter climates in the British Isles and provide better protection for fledglings from inclement weather. Face white. However it is really a good omen for farmers who find it in their barns for it preys chiefly on mice and rats. It has been shown that the use of nest boxes is less costly than traditional control with rodenticides.. Resembles pale. By two weeks old they are already half their adult weight and look naked as the amount of down is insufficient to cover their growing bodies. and in the European Community they are considered a Species of European Concern. The first primary feather to be shed is the central one, number 6, and it has regrown completely by the time the female resumes hunting. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. In some projects, use of rodenticides for pest control was replaced by the installation of nest boxes for barn owls. The name literally means "white owl", from the onomatopoeic Ancient Greek tyto (τυτώ) for an owl – compare English "hooter" – and Latin alba, "white". It instead produces the characteristic shree scream, painful to human hearing at close range, in an eerie, long-drawn-out shriek. The beak varies from pale horn to dark buff, corresponding to the general plumage hue, and the iris is blackish brown. , When disturbed at its roosting site, an angry barn owl lowers its head and sways it from side to side, or the head may be lowered and stretched forward and the wings outstretched and drooped while the bird emits hisses and makes snapping noises with its beak.