Tyto alba

Barn Owl

VVOFT0263 Tyto alba<br>
code: VVOFT0263


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The Barn Owl (Tyto alba) or, to distinguish it from relatives, Common Barn Owl, is an owl in the barn owl family Tytonidae. This is one of the two groups of owls, the other being the typical owls Strigidae....These are pale, long-winged, long-legged owls, 33–39 cm in length with an 80–95 cm wingspan. They have an effortless wavering flight as they quarter pastures or similar hunting grounds. Sometimes they are called Monkey-Faced Owls because of their appearance. They are also called Ghost Owls due to their eerie, silent flight. Other common names are Church Owl, Golden Owl, Rat Owl, and Stone Owl. Barn Owls have a notable shreee scream, ear-shattering at close range. They also hiss like snakes. When captured or cornered, they throw themselves on their backs and flail with sharp-taloned feet, an effective defence. Contrary to popular belief, they do not make the call "tu-whit to-whoo" (see Tawny Owl)..Barn Owls occur worldwide, on every continent except Antarctica. These are birds of open country such as farmland, preferentially hunting along the edges of woods..Barn Owls feed mostly on rodents. These include rats, mice, gophers, shrews, moles, and voles. Each Barn Owl may consume between one to seven rodents per night; a nesting pair and their young can eat thousands of rodents per year. The Barn Owl flies silently. Its ears are placed asymmetrically for maximum hearing, so the owls do not require sight to hunt. They can target and dive down to sink their talons through snow, grass or brush and seize rodents with deadly accuracy. Compared to other owls of similar size, the Barn Owl has a much higher metabolic rate, requiring relatively more food. Pound for pound, they consume more rodent pests than possibly any other creature. This makes the Barn Owl one of the most economically valuable wildlife animals to farmers. Farmers often encourage Barn Owls to stay around by providing nest sites.They are fairly sedentary and nocturnal or crepuscular.Predators of Barn Owls include possums, raccoons, certain snakes, and other raptors such as hawks, eagles, and larger owls (including the Great Horned Owl and the Eurasian Eagle Owl). Their worst enemy is man, who has often killed Barn Owls due to superstition, or ignorance of the bird's benefits.Barn owls are relatively common throughout most of their range but they are rare in Britain. The most recent survey of their numbers in the UK put their population at around 4400 breeding pairs. Source:Wikipedia



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