Common Barn-Owl

By Claire Cheeseman

About the Common Barn Owls

The Common Barn Owl or Tyto alba are a medium sized owl with a heart shaped face. They live nearly wideworld and are one of the most common land birds.  Barn Owls are found on every containt of the world including the whole of Australia.

Their homes are usally made in church staples, barnlofts or tree hollows, at these locations they live in nests. They are noternal animals coming out only at night, but can be seen at dawn or dusk. When the go out at night they hunt for food, they eat graashopers, rats, baby rabbits, bats, frogs or insects.

Fertilation and Development

Before fertilation happens the males have to attract the female, this is called courtship. Courtship is where the male shows off using a special call to attract females to their territory.  They then chase each other in flight while both calling out loudly to one another.

Around mating season ( which can be any time of year-usally when there is more food) female owls begin acting as if they are brooding even before there are eggs.  When fertilising the egg they "cloacal kiss", meaning they touch their clocae (bottoms) together. This is a good strategy to use because it is quick and simple.  

After an egg is fertilized (usually within a day or 2) the developing egg, known as the yolk, picks up several coatings of albumen, known as egg white.  It then gets two coatings that forms the hard shell. The egg is then ready to be laid. As soon as the first egg forms a shell, the next egg begins to develop. The first egg can be ready to lay one day after copulation. The eggs are laid individually every 1 to 2 day, though the cycle can become uneven after the first few eggs are laid.

All owls are born with an egg tooth, like most birds. The egg tooth helps them chip away and break the tough egg shells from the inside. After they hatch the tooth drops off after a week or 2. Owls are also born blind and they only have a thin coat to protect them from the cold weather. A thicker coat soon builds up within a few weeks.

Parental Care

Common Barn-Owls chicks are known to be very curious and wandering doesn't take them long to develop strength and awareness of there surroundings. The parents of the newly hatched chicks provide them with food soon after they have hatched. The young chicks are feed insects first and then move them on to whole rodents on they are big enough.

When the owls are old enough they take there first flight or fledge, they are usually about 2 months old. As soon as the owl becomes to begin flying the parental care stops. The parents sometimes chase away there young or abandon their nests. The little owls are then forced to look after and feed themselves.  

Owls use K-section parental care, meaning that they care for their young. Though after they are 2 months they kick the out!

Interesting Facts about Common Barn-Owls

- Barn Owls screech, not hoot

-Barn Owls can fly almost silently. This enables it to hear the slightest sounds made by its hidden pray, while it’s flying up to three metres overhead.

- The barn owl’s heart-shaped face collects sound in the same way as human ears. Its hearing is the most sensitive of any creature tested.

- Though barn owls are capable of producing three broods of five to seven young each year, most breed only once and produce, on average, only two and a half young. 29 per cent of nests produce no young at all.


Carolina. (n.d.).
Retrieved September 14, 2013, from Owls:

The Owl Pages. (n.d.).
  Retrieved September 14, 2013, from Common Barn-Owl Tyto Alba:

12 barn owl facts you need to know. (2013).                                                                                                Retrieved September 16, 2013, from Discover Wildlife:                                 

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