Western Barn-Owl
Tyto alba -British Wildlife Centre, Surrey, England-8a (1)
alba subspecies
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Clade: Inopinaves
Clade: Afroaves
Order: Strigiformes
Family: Tytonidae
Genus: Tyto
Species: T. alba
Binomial name
Tyto alba
Scopoli, 1769

Strix alba

Western Barn-Owl or Common Barn-Owl, Tyto alba is a species of Tyto owl. It is closely related to the Andaman Masked-Owl, T. deroepstorffi[3][4] and the Eastern Barn-Owl, Tyto delicatula,[5][6] in which were split from the Western. Sometimes, the American Barn-Owl is split from the Western,[7][8] as well as the Curacao Barn-Owl, Lesser Antilles Barn-Owl and Galapagos Barn-Owl, which require DNA evidence.[8]

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Other common names Common Barn-Owl, Ghost Owl, Barnyard Owl, Rat Owl, Church Owl, Hissing Owl and Death Owl


Length is 33–39 cm (13–15 in) with a wing span of 80–95 centimetres (2.62–3.12 ft).[9] A pale owl with white heart-shaped face enclosing dark, beady eyes.[10] In flight appears large-headed and short-tailed in flight; ghostly white in headlight beams.[10]

Similar species



It hunts by searching flights over open fields and other open and semi-open areas.[8] Preys upon small terrestrial rodents of fields and marshes, mainly common and other colonially living voles,[8] mice and shrews.[11] In smaller amounts it will also take a vast array of other food including larger insects, reptiles, fish, and smaller birds.[12]


Gives a loud hissing scream or screech, sometimes with a tremulous effect, often rendered as shrrrrreeee; the screech is commonly heard in early months of the year while the partners are in courtship flight.[8] In Britain, the voice gave this owl the name 'Screech Owl', but in 1666, but as early as 1678 it was changed to Barn Owl.[8]




  1. ^ BirdLife International (2008). "Tyto alba". 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 24 February 2009. 
  2. ^ Lepage, Denis (2012). "Tyto alba [excluding insularis group]". Avibase: The World Bird Database. Bird Studies Canada. Retrieved 4 May 2012.  Text "Scopoli, 1769 " ignored (help)
  3. ^ König C, F Weick & J-H Becking. 1999. Owls: a guide to the owls of the world. Yale University Press.
  4. ^ Rasmussen, PC & JC Anderton. 2005. Birds of South Asia: the Ripley Guide. Barcelona, Spain: Lynx Edicions.
  5. ^ Wink M, H Sauer-Gürth & M Fuchs. 2004b. Phylogenetic Differentiation in owls base on nucleotide sequences of the mitochondrial and nuclear marker genes. Raptors Worldwide. (Eds RD Chancellor and B-U Meyburg) pp.517-526. WWGBP/MM, Budapest.
  6. ^ Christidis L & WE Boles, W.E. 2008. Systematics and Taxonomy of Australian Birds. CISRO Publishing, Collingwood, VIC, Australia.
  7. ^ "Owls". IOC World Bird List. 2016. Retrieved 1 January 2016. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f Mikkola, Heimo (2012). Owls of the World: A Photographic Guide. Firefly Books Ltd. ISBN 9781770851368. 
  9. ^ Mullarney, Killian; Lars Svensson, Dan Zetterström and Peter J. Grant (1999). Birds of Europe. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0691050538.  Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthor= (help)
  10. ^ a b Zimmerman, Dale A.; et al. (1999). Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania. Princeton University Press. p. 432. ISBN 0691010226. 
  11. ^ Terres, John K. (1980). The Audubon Society Encyclopedia of North American Birds. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. ISBN 0394466519. 
  12. ^ Lockshaw, Don (2001). "Barn Owl Biology". Retrieved 4 May 2012. 

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