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Barn Owl

Barn owls (Tyto alba pratincola) are sometimes called "monkey owls" referring to their peculiar white, heart-shaped face, and were once plentiful across Pennsylvania and North America.

Size: Adult barn owls range from 13-16 inches in length with a wingspan of 36-45 inches. The average weight of a barn owl is 10-13 ounces.

Life Span: The average lifespan of the barn owl is two to five years in the wild.

Color: Primarily white, with buff, yellow and tan markings; the heart-shaped facial disc is framed in brown

Range: The barn owl is found almost anywhere in the world outside polar and desert regions.

Habitat: Barn owls live in abandoned buildings, barns, and caves.

Food: Barn owls eat small rodents, baby rabbits, bats, frogs, lizards, birds, and insects. Barn owls eat 1 ½ times their own weight every day.

Reproduction: Female barn owls will lay two to eight eggs every two or three days, depending on food supply. The incubation period is 35 days, after which the owlets are born. A healthy pair of barn owls may have two young per year.

Conservation: With the decline of farming in North America, barns and other shelters barn owls have typically utilized are also on the decline, which threatens barn owls. The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium has conducted a breeding program and tracking research on these once plentiful animals to help bring back the population. 

Fun Facts: Barn owls prefer to hunt while perched on a fence or post instead of hovering over a field as other predatory birds. A barn owl will attack its prey in a low flight, grab with its feet, and nip through the back of the skull with its bill.