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Barn Owl Pictures

The Barn Owl is the most widely distributed species of owl, and one of the most widespread of all birds.

The Barn Owl is known by many other names, which may refer to the appearance, call, habitat or the eerie, silent flight: White Owl, Silver Owl, Demon Owl, Ghost Owl, Death Owl, Night Owl, Rat Owl, Church Owl, Cave Owl, Stone Owl, Monkey-faced Owl, Hissing Owl, Hobgoblin or Hobby Owl, Dobby Owl,White Breasted Owl, Golden Owl, Scritch Owl, Screech Owl, Straw Owl, Barnyard Owl and Delicate Owl.

Here is our collection of barn owl pictures. You will find that we have several types of barn owl pictures. Barn owls in their respective trees, barn owls in flight, and more.

To view the barn owl pictures in full size, just click on the pictures.

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Here is some detailed information on the barn owl species.

The Barn Owl is a pale, long-winged, long-legged owl with a short squarish tail. Depending on subspecies, it measures about 25-45 cm (9.8-18 in) in overall length, with a wingspan of some 75-110 cm (30-43 in). Tail shape is a way of distinguishing the Barn Owl from true owls when seen in flight, as are the wavering motions and the open dangling feathered legs. The light face with its heart shape and the black eyes give the flying bird an odd and startling appearance, like a flat mask with oversized oblique black eyeslits, the ridge of feathers above the bill somewhat resembling a nose.

Its head and upper body typically vary between a light brown and a dark grey (especially on the forehead and back) feathers in most subspecies. Some are purer, richer brown instead, and all have fine black-and-white speckles except on the remiges and rectrices, which are light brown with darker bands. The heart-shaped face is usually bright white, but in some subspecies it is browner. The underparts (including the tarsometatarsus feathers) vary from white to reddish buff among the subspecies, and are either mostly unpatterned or bear a varying amount of tiny blackish-brown speckles.

It was found that at least in the continental European populations, females with more spotting are healthier on average. This does not hold true for European males by contrast, where the spotting varies according to subspecies. The bill varies from pale horn to dark buff, corresponding to the general plumage hue. The iris is blackish brown. The toes, as the bill, vary in color; their color ranges from pinkish to dark pinkish-grey. The talons are black.

On average, within any one population males tend to be less spotted on the underside than females. The latter are also larger, as is common for owls. A strong female T. alba of a large subspecies may weigh over 550 g (19.4 oz), while males are typically about 10% lighter. Nestlings are covered in white down all over, but the heart-shaped facial disk is visible soon after hatching.

Contrary to popular belief, it does not hoot (such calls are made by typical owls, like the Tawny Owl or other Strix). It instead produces the characteristic shree scream, ear-shattering at close range. Males in courtship give a shrill twitter. It can hiss like a snake to scare away intruders, and when captured or cornered, it throws itself on its back and flails with sharp-taloned feet, making for an effective defense. Also given in such situations is a rasp and a clicking snap, produced by the bill or possibly the tongue. It is most recognizable by its "mask-like" face.

Across its vast range, the Barn Owl has formed many subspecies, but several are considered to be intergrades between more distinct populations today. Still, some 20-30 seem to be worthy of recognition as long as the species is not split up. They vary mainly in size and color, sometimes according to Bergmann's and Gloger's Rules, sometimes more unpredictably.

The Barn Owl is nocturnal as usual for owls, but it often becomes active shortly before dusk already and can sometimes be seen during the day, when it relocates from a sleeping place it does not like.

It hunts by flying low and slowly over an area of open ground, hovering over spots that conceal potential prey. They may also use fence posts or other lookouts to ambush prey. The Barn Owl feeds primarily on small vertebrates, particularly rodents. Studies have shown that an individual Barn Owl may eat one or more rodents per night; a nesting pair and their young can eat more than 1,000 rodents per year.

In temperate regions, the breeding season usually starts in late March to early April. Breeding can take place at any time prey is abundant, and in the warm parts of its range may occur at any time of the year.

Most individuals manage to breed only once in their life, falling victim to predators or accidents before being 2 years of age. While wild Barn Owls are thus decidedly short-lived, the actual longevity of the species is much higher – captive individuals may reach 20 years or more. But occasionally, a wild bird reaches an advanced age, such as about a dozen years or more. The American record age for a wild Barn Owl was 11 years and a half, while a Dutch bird was noted to have reached an age of 17 years, 10 months.

Barn Owls are relatively common throughout most of their range and not considered globally threatened.

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