Eastern Barn Owl – hissing screech nocturnal bird

Eastern Barn Owl

Eastern Barn Owl is a medium-sized owl that is very common in Asia and Australia. They have a heart like a face, sandy orange upperparts and white cream underparts. This owl is smaller and lighter than Masked Owl.

Have you heard of a barking owl – Read more.

Eastern Barn Owl Distribution

This owl can be found throughout much of the mainland of Australia.

As this is a widespread species it can also be seen in the Indian subcontinent and southeast Asia.

In Australia, during the dry season, they migrate to the northern coast, and back southward in the wet. Also, they move along with rodent plagues to make feeding easy. In 2008, for the first time, this owl was breeding in New Zealand.

Eastern Barn Owl Habitat

It favours open woodlands, grasslands and rural areas. During the day, the owl rests in hollow logs, caves or trees to finally emerge at night and hunt for small mammals, rats, mice, birds, insects or even lizards.

Interestingly, in some Pacific Islands, they can also hunt during the day.

What sound do they make?

It makes rasping and screeching sounds.

Is this owl endangered?

No, their conservation status is ‘least concern’ (LC). However, they are susceptible to cold winters that can reduce their population. Pasture conversions into sites for crops and urbanisation can cause loss of habitat for birds living in the affected areas.

Eastern Barn Lifespan

The usual lifespan is between 2 to 4 years, but there are documented cases in captivity for up to 30 years.

Cultural Significance

Eastern Barn Owl has cultural significance and is featured in the mythology and folklore of some Indigenous Australian communities. For example, in some Aboriginal Dreamtime stories, the Barn Owl is believed to be a messenger of bad news or a harbinger of death. In other stories, it is considered a symbol of fertility and a protector of women and children.

The Barn Owl is also believed to have healing powers in some Indigenous cultures. Its feathers and bones were used in traditional medicine to treat a range of ailments, including headaches, colds, and sore throats. Additionally, some Aboriginal communities believe that the Barn Owl can help guide lost souls to the afterlife.

Our encounters

Like most owls, they are nocturnal so the only chance we could see this amazing animal was in the zoo or sanctuary.

Interesting facts about the Eastern Barn Owl:

  • The Eastern Barn Owl (Tyto delicatula) is a species of owl found in Australia, New Guinea, and nearby islands.
  • Barn Owls are known for their heart-shaped facial disk, which is thought to help them detect prey by amplifying sounds and directing them towards their ears.
  • The Eastern Barn Owl is a medium-sized bird, typically measuring around 35-45 cm (14-18 inches) in length, with a wingspan of around 90-110 cm (35-43 inches).
  • Unlike most other owls, Barn Owls have white feathers on their face and belly, which helps them to blend in with their surroundings and avoid detection by predators.
  • Eastern Barn Owls are mainly nocturnal and feed on small mammals, such as rats, mice, and rabbits, as well as insects, birds, and reptiles.
  • These birds are highly skilled hunters and have been known to locate their prey in complete darkness using their keen sense of hearing and silent flight.
  • Eastern Barn Owls are known to mate for life, and can breed throughout the year if food is abundant. Females typically lay 3-5 eggs, which are incubated for around 30 days.
  • Barn Owls have been known to live up to 20 years in captivity, but in the wild, they typically have a lifespan of around 4-5 years.
  • Eastern Barn Owls are considered to be of “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), but their populations are declining due to habitat loss and other factors.

Eastern Barn Owl – more information

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