Barn Owl Fact Sheet

Common Name:

Barn Owl

Scientific Name:

Tyto Alba

Wild Status:

Least Concern


Grasslands, Deserts, Marshes, Human Settlements


Every continent except Antarctica


Trees, Hollows, Buildings

Life Span:

4 years in the wild


10+ Inches

Cool Facts:

  • Barn owls are incredible hunters who focus on prey like mice and rats 
  • Just like mice and rats, barn owls are mostly nocturnal and come out to hunt at night
  • Their keen sense of sight and hearing help them catch prey  in the dark
  • Their ears are not bilaterally symmetrical, meaning one is slightly higher than the other
  • Owls in general have long been associated with spooky business, such as witchcraft and magic
  • Unlike other owls, they do not hoot. Instead, they make a screeching noise
  • The females have darker feathers than the males


One of the most efficient predators in the animal kingdom, the barn owl can catch its prey with minimal information. A small crinkle on the ground, a slight rustle, or a tiny squeak is all that is needed for an owl to catch mice in the cover of darkness and leaves. The owl's expert hunting and mysterious nature have drawn humans for thousands of years as seen in stories and works of art in numerous human cultures. Humans see in owls not only a fierce hunting prowess but a wisdom to learn from, as well as fear. While many humans think of owls as bad omens or bringers of death, in truth, most owls will never harm a human without being harmed first. This acceptance of humans has given rise to the barn owl, named after its habit of taking up residence in barns. Barns offer not only safe nests away from predators and rain, but a steady supply of rats that may steal a farmer's hard earned corn. This mutualistic relationship with humans may explain why the barn owl is so widespread.

Taxonomic Breakdown:

Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Aves Order: Strigiformes Family: Tytonidae Genus: Tyto Species: T. alba

Conservation & Helping:

Barn Owls are found all over the world in large numbers. Although most individuals don't live very long, their population is not considered to be in any danger

For Teachers and Educators


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