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.
Barn owl - in flight
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
|Europe||UK breeding*||UK wintering*||UK passage*|
|110-220,000 pairs||3,000-5,000 pairs||12,500-25,000 birds||-|