Worldwide between latitudes 40° north and 40° south
Open country with grassy fields and low brush
Wild: Voles, mice, rats, bats and frogs
Zoo: Mice sprinkled with vitamycin and bone meal
31 to 34 days by both male and female, but female chiefly in charge
4 to 7 eggs
Approximately 15 years in captivity, much shorter in the wild
This may be the best known owl in the world. The upper parts are orange-buff, spotted with dark grey and white. The underparts are white and the tail short. The male's breast tends to be more white, the female's more spotted brown. The heart-shaped facial disc is usually white. It is sometimes called the monkey owl because of its simian appearance. The long legs are completely feathered. Barn owls have a serrated comb on the claw of the middle toe, found elsewhere only in herons and some goat¬suckers. Females are about 13-18 in. and are larger than males. Their eyes are large and dark; the wings are long. Their hearing is exceptional. They can locate prey in total dark¬ness just by sound. Their ears take up nearly the whole length of the skull. They hiss, scream and utter a series of clicking sounds, but do not hoot.
Did You Know?
The Genus name, Tyto, is from the Greek tuto, “a night-owl.” The species name, alba, is from the Latin albus, meaning “white.” The face, front and belly are white.
Where in the Zoo?
I can be found in the Conservation Education Programs at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.