Barn Owl (Tyto Alba)

c_Darin_SmithBarn Owl © Darin Smith


The Barn Owl is one of the most common species of owl in Wiltshire and prefers areas of rough grassland and is often seen along field boundaries. The Barn Owl has a white heart-shaped face and ghostly white feathers underneath with darker feathers above. Barn Owls are mainly nocturnal but may be seen around dusk and dawn as they hunt. Barn Owls prefer to use high perches when they hunt so they can see their prey more easily.


The Barn Owl's diet consists of mainly rodents such as the brown rat and the wood mouse. Once the prey is caught it is swallowed whole, with the indigestible part regurgitated in large, smooth, blackish pellets, which are left at the nesting site.

How to Identify/Track?

Barn owls have a high pitched screech, unlike other species of owl which hoot. This makes them easily identifiable.

Did you know?

  • Owl chicks sometimes feed each other which is incredibly rare in the bird world.
  • Barn owls are non-territorial allowing multiple families to live in a small area.
  • Barn Owls have exceptional hearing and can find prey just by sound; this is due to them being able to fly almost silently.

Reserves where they are present

Ravens Roost, Cloatley Meadows, Green Lane Wood, Blake Hill Farm, Lower Moor Farm, Echo Lodge Meadows, High Clear Down, St Julian’s Meadow, Oysters Coppice, Penn Wood.

Others in the Bird Family


Print out a copy of the Barn Owl fact sheet

You can continue to help us care for barn owl habitats in Wiltshire by donating or purchasing one of our owl gift boxes from our shop.