Medium sized, white facial disc, orange grey body, white cream underneath.
A medium-sized owl with a white ‘heart-shaped' facial disc. The body is sandy orange and light grey above, and white to cream underneath. Both the back and breast are evenly spotted with black. Young birds are similar to adults in plumage and females are slightly larger than males.
Open, often arid (dry) country, such as farms, heath and lightly-wooded forest.
Feeding and diet
It feeds mostly on small mammals, rats and mice, and birds, but some insects, frogs and lizards are also eaten.
Other behaviours and adaptations
It is a moderately common bird, but generally hard to see, as it is nocturnal. During the day, the birds roost in hollow logs, caves or on concealed tree branches, emerging at night to hunt. It uses its exceptional hearing to search for prey on the ground. The slightest sound waves are channelled toward the ears, allowing the owl to pinpoint prey even in complete darkness. Barn Owls are the most widespread of the owls, found on every continent in the world except Antarctica.
It is generally a quiet bird, with the common call being a 12 second rough, hissing screech. Less frequently, birds give whistling, wheezing notes and some snapping and bill clacking during mating and threat displays.