Amaze-wing Facts About The Barn Owl For Kids

Interesting barn owl facts to cheer you up.

One of the most widespread bird species found throughout the world is the barn owl, Tyto alba being its scientific name. Barn owl is the common name used to describe the various subspecies found throughout the world. They usually live in hollow trees, on ledges of buildings, or on cliffs and in barns, which is why they are called barn owls. Like all other birds of prey, this owl species can become aggressive if agitated, making it dangerous to keep them as pets. They do not live long, sometimes as little as two years, but some have been known to live as long as 5-12 years. Barn owl sounds are often compared to that of a banshee, imagine that! So, if you want to learn more fun facts about these brown and white barn owl species, keep reading on. And, of course, if you like reading articles like these, then check out our similar ones like birds of paradise and tawny owl facts.

Barn Owl

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Rats, mice, bats, shrews, voles, and other small mammals

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

0.7-1.2 lb (300-550 g)

How long are they?

30-43 in (75-110 cm)

How tall are they?

9.8-18 in (25-45 cm)

What do they look like?

Gray, white, light brown, black, orange

Skin Type


What are their main threats?

Opossums, horned owls, eagles, eagle owls, and raccoons

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Woods, farmlands, open plains, and deserts


Africa, Europe, Asia, Eurasia, Central, South and North America, mainland Australia





Scientific Name

Tyto alba





Barn Owl Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Barn Owl?

Barn owls, like all other owls, are birds of prey, who are mostly known to eat small mammals like rodents. Their scientific name is Tyto alba. They hunt at night mostly, from about an hour after the sunset to one hour before the sunrise.

What class of animal does a Barn Owl belong to?

Barn owls fall in the class Aves, and there are various species and subspecies found throughout the world, some being more exotic than others which sometimes makes them more vulnerable than their more common counterparts.

How many Barn Owls are there in the world?

As their conservation status is not really a matter of concern, it is hard to say just how many of these birds are there in the wild. The number is estimated to be something between 4-10 million.

Where does a Barn Owl live?

They are one of the most adaptable species of birds found in the wild, which is probably why they can be found all around the world except for Antarctica. Their adaptive nature helps them live in both humid and dry climate regions. From deserts to low-ranging woods and farmlands they can be found everywhere.

What is a Barn Owl's habitat?

They are known to inhabit abandoned houses, cliff ledges, low-ranging woods, urban and suburban areas, and of course, barns which gain them their title of barn owls. As they mostly hunt at night, except for some species in Europe who are known to hunt in daylight as well, they emerge after dark from their nest boxes in hollow trees, ledges in buildings, and cliffs or barns to find their prey.

Who do Barn Owls live with?

Barn owls either live alone or in pairs. Even if there is more than one owl or a pair of them living in close proximity to each other, they do not really form connections with each other. Consequently, there are not even disputes regarding hunting territory in these owls, they seem to avoid and cohabit with each other quite well.

How long does a Barn Owl live?

Barn owls are known to live for somewhere around 5-12 years in the wild.

How do they reproduce?

This owl is known to mate for life, though a pair can separate if they cannot produce many owlets together. The breeding occurs throughout the year, producing about two broods per year. Females use a lived-in nest to lay eggs, usually incubating them for 25-34 days. The eggs are usually laid across a number of days rather than at once. After mating these owls generally live in the same nest site rather than migrating to different places.

What is their conservation status?

Although some exotic subspecies of barn owls are decreasing in numbers in their natural habitat, their conservation is not really a matter of huge concern as they are one of the most widespread birds that can be found throughout the world.

Barn Owl Fun Facts

What do Barn Owls look like?

Barn owls are birds of prey with a medium-sized body that is covered with feathers that range from white to light brown. They have a rounded head the back of which is light brown and peppered with black or white dots. Their heart-shaped face is covered with white feathers. Unlike the other members of the owl family, these owls lack ear tufts which makes them pretty easy to distinguish. North American barn owls are much bigger in size than their Western Palearctic counterparts.

North American barn owl facts to feed your curiosity.

How cute are they?

Barn owls are very cute with their medium-sized bodies, heart-shaped face, and shiny black eyes.

How do they communicate?

Barn owls are known for communicating through different kinds of vocal signals and sometimes physical displays. A barn owl call is very distinctive and haunting, they are often compared to a banshee for their shrill and terrifying screeches. A barn owl is known for its incredible accuracy in hunting its food by sound.

How big is a Barn Owl?

These birds can be as big as 9.8-18 in, with a wingspan of about 30-43 in. The female owl is somewhat bigger and heavier than the male owl. Did you know their height is about as big as a giraffe's tongue?!

How fast can a Barn Owl fly?

These birds can fly as fast as 10-20 mph when pursuing their prey, which is about the same speed as a black mamba snake.

How much does a Barn Owl weigh?

A common barn owl, Tyto alba is its scientific name, weighs in at around 0.7-1.2 lb. A female barn owl is usually a little bigger and heavier than a male barn owl.

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for the male and female birds. They are simply known as male and female.

What would you call a baby Barn Owl?

A young barn owl is usually called an owlet or chick. A barn owl would care for their chicks for about 50-70 days after the hatching, after which the chicks leave for their first flight. The owlets normally become self-sufficient after three to five weeks from their first flight.

What do they eat?

A common barn owl is known to prey on small mammals, such as voles, rats, mice, rabbits, and other kinds of rodents, as well as birds.

Are they dangerous?

Like all other birds of prey, the barn owl is also aggressive, and though it's rare, they have been known to attack humans from time to time, especially if their nest is intruded upon.

Would they make a good pet?

As they are birds of prey, they are quite aggressive. They are also solitary in nature and not suited for constant contact with humans. A wild barn owl is not suited to living in confinement as they thrive in open habitats and trees. They are used to hunting and killing for food which means that they can turn aggressive if forced to become compliant.

Did you know...

Did you know that although they are adaptable to almost every climate, terrible cold can be devastating to them, which is why they are not found in extensive cold portions, such as the north of the Himalayas?

They usually do not leave a nest site after mating, and readily adopt nest boxes, with the female making it comfortable, rather than building them.

Unlike some other animals their breeding process takes place throughout the year and the size of the clutch depends on whether they are able to find prey in a particular climate.

What does a Barn Owl sound like?

Unlike the hoots of other owls, these owls emit a haunting screech, which is why their screeches are often compared to a banshee.

What is special about a Barn Owl?

A special feature of the very interesting barn owl is the creepy haunting screech that distinguishes it from other owls. It also lacks the usual ear tufts of other owls, making them very noticeable.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including secretary bird, or great green macaw.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our barn owl coloring pages.



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