Species Focus

Barn owl

(Tyto alba)


Barn owls are a focus species for the Northern buffer habitat area at Waterbeach.

Listen to a barn owl call

Discover: Barn owl

These owls have a white belly and heart-shaped face with golden-buff coloured back and wings. They feed on mice, rats and especially voles. Conservation efforts since the 90s have allowed the UK population of barn owl to recover enough to be moved from Amber to Green conservation status in 2015.
  • Conservation status: Green (Birds of Conservation Concern); Protected under Schedule One of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
  • Measurements: Length 33-39 cm, wingspan: 80-95 cm, weight: 250-350 g.
  • Listen: Males may be heard screeching in the early breeding season and owl chicks can be heard hissing for their next feed in the evenings.

The barn owl's ghostly silent flight, together with its heart-shaped face directing the sounds of prey, makes it an excellent hunter of the night.

Flying barn owl

Can you spot: Barn owls can be seen year round at dusk and dawn, look out for them hunting from fence posts or in low flight over farmland and hedgerows.

Did you know: Barn owls swallow their prey whole, bones, teeth, feathers and all, then regurgitate the indigestible parts in the form of large pellets.

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