|Size of the owl depends on the species. Smallest owl (Elf Owl) reaches weight of only one ounce and length of 5 inches. Largest owls (Eurasian Eagle-Owl and Blakiston's Fish Owl) can reach weight of around 10 pounds and a wingspan of 6.6 feet.|
|All owls can be divided in two large groups: barn and true owls. Barn owls are medium-sized birds with heart-shaped face, long legs and strong talons. Of all known owls, only 19 species belong to this group. True owls are more diverse group of owls with around 190 species that vary in size, color and appearance.|
|Owls are carnivores. They eat rodents, small mammals, fish, birds and insects.|
|Owls do not chew their food because, just like all other birds - they do not have teeth. If the prey is too large, owl uses its sharp beak to tear the prey apart.|
|Since owl eats the whole prey, it regurgitates (vomits) undigested material composed of bones, feathers, fur and teeth, in the form of hard pellets. Ornithologists (scientists which study birds) collect and examine these pellets when they want to investigate the type of diet characteristic for the owls that are living in certain area.|
|Barn owl is very beneficial for the farmers because it eliminates rodents in the barns and fields. It can eat up to 1000 mice each year.|
|Owl is very successful hunter because it can fly silently. Special kind of soft feathers muffle the sound of the moving wings, allowing the bird to approach the prey unnoticed.|
|Feather coloration is species specific. It can be brown, rust, gray, white and black. Mix of the colors provides nice camouflage for both predators and prey.|
|Some species of owls have ear-like structures on their head. They cannot detect sound, but serve as structures which provide camouflage. They can be also used to show aggression.|
|Owls have excellent sense of hearing. Ears are located on the both sides of the head, behind the eyes. They are often located on different heights, providing better reception of the sound, which is important for detection of the prey.|
|Although it looks like the owl can turn its head completely (360 degrees), it can move it only to a certain extent (just 270 degrees). Owl can look across its shoulder, but it cannot rotate the head a full circle.|
|Owls are farsighted, which means that they cannot clearly see the objects which are in front of their eyes.|
|Owls are solitary creatures. Although they do not live in groups, name for the group of owls is parliament. They are territorial animals which hoot to announce their territory. Not all owl species are capable for hooting. Other than hoot, owls produce variety of other sounds used for communication, such as screeches, hisses, and screams.|
|Owls lay between few and dozen eggs (most commonly between 3 and 4 eggs). They are white and round. Eggs do not hatch at the same time.|
|Lifespan of owls in captivity is 20 years.|
Barn Owl facts for kids – and lots of fun stuff too!
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Essential Barn Owl fact-file: 10 amazing Barn Owl facts!
Did you know? …..
- Barn Owls eat mostly voles, shrews, mice and sometimes rats.
- Food is often swallowed whole – bits of fur and bone are then regurgitated (coughed up) as an owl pellet.
- Barn Owls screech – they never hoot (that’s Tawny Owls).
- The scientific Latin name for Barn Owl is Tyto alba alba.
- Barn Owls have very long legs, toes and talons to help them to catch prey hidden under long grass.
- Barn Owls usually hunt at night – even in total darkness they can find the smallest vole using their super-sensitive hearing.
- Barn Owls’ large eyes are very sensitive too – they can quickly spot a mouse moving in a very gloomy barn.
- Barn Owl feathers are super soft – this helps them to hunt silently, but they are not very waterproof and get soaked if it rains.
- Barn Owls have lop-sided ears! One is higher than the other, which helps them to pinpoint exactly where tiny sounds are coming from.
- A wild Barn Owl usually eats about 4 small mammals every night, that’s 1,460 per year!
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