Barn owl

Tyto alba

Most of us are familiar with the Barn Owl which is found all over the world, apart from Antarctica.
 
We recognise the Barn Owl straight away if we are lucky enough to spot it at night. We like to see these birds on our properties, they are the ultimate natural pest control as their favorite food is feral rats and mice; they also feed on other small mammals, birds, insects, frogs and lizards.
 
Barn Owls are very distinctive with their white heart shaped faces, but did you know that they do not all look the same?
They have variations in face shape, coloring, expression and even personality.
Although the face of the Barn Owl may appear to look flat they don’t actually have flat faces, rather they hold their beaks down towards their neck and their feathers create a disk shape around their eyes.
 
The Barn Owl has specialised facial disk feathers that collects and directs sound to the darker edge and towards their ears. They have large ear openings which are placed asymmetrically on their head. One ear is higher than the other allowing the owl to triangulate sounds to determine exact direction. One ear opens slightly downwards and one slightly upwards, so they work like directional microphones.
 
Flying silently at night searching for prey they are the ultimate stealth fighters striking with pinpoint accuracy.