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Barn Owl | Tyto alba

The Barn Owl is a Southern African bird that belongs to the tytonidae bird family group which includes birds such as Barn owls, Grass owls.

The description for the Barn Owl (Latin name Tyto alba) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Tyto alba can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 392 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 251. You will find a picture of the Barn Owl on page 272.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Barn Owl between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition

The Barn Owl is known in Afrikaans as Nonnetjie-uil.

The Barn Owl has a height of 33 cms and weighs around 410 gms. The head is coloured grey while the bill is coloured white. The Tyto alba has a white coloured throat, grey legs and a grey coloured back. The eyes are black.

The male Tyto alba has physical features that are slightly different from the female bird.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is grey

Eyes are black

Bill is white

Legs are grey

Throat is white

Back is grey

Feeding Habits ...

The Tyto alba attacks its prey aerially and feeds on wing or takes the prey to a secluded venue where it is killed, torn into small pieces and eaten

The diet includes small mammals such as rabbits, field mice and other rodents. Rodents are usually taken from the ground and killed using the sharp claws. The Barn Owl uses its hard bill to tear up the flesh.

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten .

Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Barn Owl is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 2 to 13 eggs and they are coloured white.

The bird builds its nest within a tree cavity just a few meters above the ground. The hole in the tree is normally reused in the next nesting season.

The Barn Owl is mainly found in light and densely wooded forests, where there are Mopane trees.

This bird is very common in most of the Southern African Forests

The bird is an urban dweller as well, being at home in parks, gardens and in old vacated buildings

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The Barn Owl is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.

The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition * edited by PAR Hockey, WRJ Dean and PG Ryan, published by "The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund."

copyright: Tony Roocroft +27-11-454-0105

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