Order: Strigiformes

Family:  Tytonidae

Scientific name: Tyto alba, Scopoli, 1769

IUCN Red list status-Least Concern

Did you know?

  • Common Barn Owl’s ears are very powerful and with it, they can easily locate the prey in night.


Common Barn Owl is 30 to 45 cm in long and weighs 180 to 700 grams. The head and back is a mottled shade of grey or brown. The under parts vary from white to shades of brown. The head is large, with white heart-shaped facial disc, bordered with brown. It lacks ear tufts. Eyes are dark. The bill is hooked and pale. Both sexes look similar but Female is larger than male. The juvenile are similar to adults when the down feathers are lost.


The diet of Common Barn Owl mostly consists of small mammals like voles, shrews, rats, mice, moles, baby rabbits etc, birds, frogs, lizards, geckos, snakes, large insects and swarming termites. Large hooked claws are used to pick the prey animal.  The prey is swallowed as whole. The forage time is mainly night and it is done solitarily or in prayers.


The habitat of Common Barn Owl includes forests, grasslands, woodlands, deciduous jungles, secondary forests, human inhabitations, cultivated fields etc. In India is distributed throughout the Union. It is also seen in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

Reproductive Behaviour

The breeding time of Common Barn Owl is practically all the year. They are monogamous as well as cavity nesters and returns to same site for nesting. The female spends much time near the nest and waits for food presented by male. On courtship male present food to female and copulation occurs. Nest is a collection of straw, twigs, rags etc padded into tree hollows. Holes of ruined walls, space between ceiling and roof of dwelling houses are also used for nesting. Normally 3-5 eggs are laid. Incubation of 30-31 days is mainly done by female. The male hunts and brings food for the incubating female, and he is also the main provider of food for the chicks and the female until the chicks one month old.


The call includes screeches, wheezes, purrs and snoring sounds.

Related Species and Sub Species

  • Andaman Barn Owl (Tyto deroepstorffi).
  • Eastern Grass Owl (Tyto longimembris).
  • Tyto alba sumbaensis of Indonesia.
  • Tyto alba argei of West Indies.
  • Tyto alba poensis of Equatorial Guinea.

Migratory Behaviour

Common Resident