Perth Raptor Care

Barn Owl Tyto alba


Characteristics in Captivity

'Barnies' are generally shy, but seem to settle into captivity OK as long as they have somewhere to hide out. They are very good at playing dead, and when they are already ill, this can make things a little confusing! The acronym for 'Barn Owl' is B.O. and this is an apt description of the smell that will come from the hospital box before it is cleaned out. Otherwise, they are a pleasure to have in care (unless hissing and screeching from the aviary in the middle of the night upsets you).

Hunting Strategies

The phrase 'perch and pounce' has been used to describe owl hunting. More accurately, they sit and listen, move to a vantage point where they can hear better, and then glide down to strike. Rats and mice are favourite food, but small native mammals, lizards and bugs are also eaten. Barn Owls will also feed on roosting diurnal birds.

Barn owls have the ability to pinpoint sound in three-dimensional space, so need very little light to hunt by. They get to know their territory well enough to navigate by sight in near total darkness, but eyesight is important to hunting, hiding and getting around.


Mice are an ideal food in captivity, but day old chicks and other foods are also acceptable.


230 - 470g.

Back to Rehab. Notes Index