Barn Owl

Video highlights from Animal Encounters

The barn owl feeds primarily on mice, swooping low to catch them with their talons.

Barn Owl
Scientific name: Tyto alba (common barn owl)


•    Barn Owls eat mice, voles and shrews.

•    A Barn Owl pellet consists of the remains of small mammals, these remains are the skeleton parts that are tightly wrapped in condensed mammal fur. Due to the low acid content within the Owls stomach these are items an Owl cannot fully digest. Pellets are formed within the Owls stomach & then regurgitated or coughed up out of the beak, this usually takes place whilst sat at its favourite roosting perch. If food is plentiful, a Barn Owl can regurgitate at two separate intervals, two pellets per day.

•    Barn Owls mainly hunt by sound rather than by sight. With its acute hearing the Barn Owl can detect the slightest movement & sound of its prey.

•    Males usually weigh around 330g and females around 360g although during the breeding season females may weigh as much as 400g.

•    On average a wild Barn Owl eats about 4 small mammals per night, that's 1,460 per year.

Discuss this article


Never miss a Nat Geo moment

Your email address
We use our own and third-party cookies to improve our services, personalise your advertising and remember your preferences. If you continue browsing, or click on the accept button on this banner, we understand that you accept the use of cookies on our website. For more information visit our Cookies Policy AcceptClose cookie policy overlay