Barn Owl — Species Information

Barn Owl by Lisa J. Roden
Barn Owl - © Lisa J. Roden

Barn owls have the best hearing of any animal tested so far; they can catch a live mouse in a completely dark room. Like most owls, their ears are asymmetrical on their head- one ear is higher than the other. This allows the owl to triangulate the sound and catch prey in a 3-dimensional space. Barn owls hunt in darkest night to avoid predation by greathorned owls, so they rely almost entirely on their hearing.

Fun Facts!

Very widespread - found in every continent except Antarctica

Specializes in rodent prey, catching up to 2,000 mice in a single year

Whereas most birds of prey lay 2-3 eggs, the barn owl can lay up to 11

Uses silent flight, excellent low-light eyesight, and hearing to capture prey

Gets its name from the fact that in addition to residing in caves and tree holes during the day, it will also use man-made structures like barns, sheds, and mine shafts.

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“This is about as close to a raptor as you're likely to get but before the show most people didn't believe how close...”
-Sam McManis, Sacramento Bee