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Conservation status: Amber

With heart-shaped face, buff back and wings and pure white underparts, the barn owl is a distinctive and much-loved countryside bird. Widely distributed across the UK, and indeed the world, this bird has suffered declines through the 20th century and is thought to have been adversely affected by organochlorine pesticides such as DDT in the 1950s and '60s. Nocturnal birds like the barn owl are poorly monitored by the Breeding Bird Survey and, subject to this caveat, numbers may have increased between 1995-2008.

Illustrations

Overview

Latin name

Tyto alba

Family

Owls (Tytonidae)

Where to see them

Open country, along field edges, riverbanks and roadside verges.

When to see them

All year round; during the day, but best at dusk.

What they eat

Mice, voles and shrews

Population

EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
110-220,000 pairs4,000 pairs12,500-25,000 birds-

Distribution

Key

Worldwide
Cosmopolitan

Audio

Marco Dragonetti, Xeno-canto

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