Where Do Barn Owls Live? (Habitat + Distribution) (2023)

What is the distribution range of the Barn Owl?

What is the habitat of a Barn Owl?

How rare is it to see a Barn Owl?

What time do Barn Owls come out?

Do Barn Owls stay in one place?

Where do Barn Owls live in the US?

(Video) Barn Owl Habitats

Where do Barn Owls live in Canada?

Where do Barn Owls live in Australia?

Where are Barn Owls most common?

Where is the best place to see a Barn Owl?

Where do Barn Owls live during the day?

Where do Barn Owls live in the winter?

Where do Barn Owls live in the summer?

(Video) Where to find Barn Owls

Barn Owls (Tyto alba) are the most widespread owls in the world. These beautiful and mysterious birds can be very common in suitable habitats, although they have declined in some areas due to changing farming practices and habitat destruction. So where exactly do Barn Owls live?

Barn Owls live near areas with open, short vegetation such as prairie, shrubland, pasture, semi-arid scrub, and open woodlands. They use these areas for hunting small animals like mice which are caught by swooping down from a low flight or perch. They generally avoid urban areas, high, mountainous landscapes, very arid deserts, and dense forests.

Barn Owls spend the day hidden away in dry, sheltered, roosts in hollow trees, crevices in cliffs, and often in man-made structures like barns. These are the same locations that they use for nesting, and a pair of owls may stay in the same vicinity throughout the year.

Read along to learn more about where the Barn Owl lives and where you might be able to see these graceful birds for yourself.

Where Do Barn Owls Live? (Habitat + Distribution) (1)

Barn Owls live in an array of different habitats, but open woodlands can be one of the best places to spot them

What is the distribution range of the Barn Owl?

Barn Owls have the widest distribution of any owl species. Their many subspecies are spread out across every continent except Antarctica. They range from tropical areas to temperate climates in the following regions:

  • Most of North America from Southern Canada to Panama
  • Most of South America from Colombia in the north to Argentina and Chile in the south
  • Widespread in Europe, extending to Western Asia
  • Widespread in Africa from the Mediterranean to South Africa
  • Most of the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia
  • Australia and surrounds

Continue reading to learn more about the Barn Owls’ favorite habitat and where you are most likely to see them.

What is the habitat of a Barn Owl?

Barn Owls are adaptable birds that are found in many habits. Their ability to thrive in some human-altered habitats like farmlands and occasionally even the edge of suburbia has made them one of the most familiar owl species. Generally speaking, Barn Owls prefer relatively open habitats, from sea level up to about 13 000 feet (4000m). They avoid densely wooded areas and forests.

Where Do Barn Owls Live? (Habitat + Distribution) (2)

Close up of a perched Barn Owl

How rare is it to see a Barn Owl?

Barn Owls vary from common to very rare, depending on where you live. Even where these birds are most common, it is still pretty rare to see them because of their nocturnal habits. Barn Owls are vocal birds, however, and their piercing call is more often heard than the birds are seen.

What time do Barn Owls come out?

Barn Owls are largely nocturnal, although they will occasionally hunt during the day, particularly in the winter. They are usually active from about an hour after sunset to an hour before sunrise the following morning. They are efficient hunters, however, so relatively little time is spent actively hunting.

Where Do Barn Owls Live? (Habitat + Distribution) (3)
(Video) Bringing Up Baby: How Barn Owls Do It

One of the best times to see Barn Owls is just after, and sometime during sunset

Do Barn Owls stay in one place?

Barn Owls often move very far from where they were born. They can move over 1000 miles (1600km) in any direction from their nest site to suitable habitat. Not all Barn Owls disperse this widely, however, with some young birds traveling a mile or less.

Adult Barn Owls are usually non-migratory, although limited migrations have been recorded. Most adult Barn Owls are sedentary and stay in the same area throughout the year. They often nest in the same place every year and even sleep at the nest site outside of the breeding season.

Where do Barn Owls live in the US?

The American Barn Owl (T. alba pratincola) is widespread across most of the United States. They are very common in some states but have declined drastically in others such as Michigan.

In the USA, Barn Owls are most common near the coast from California to Washington State in the Pacific Northwest, inland to Idaho and Utah, and south to Texas. They range across the southeast to Florida in the south and New York state in the north. Barn owls can be seen at widespread localities across the interior of the United States, although they tend to be less common and more localized.

Where Do Barn Owls Live? (Habitat + Distribution) (4)

Close up of an American Barn Owl in flight

Where do Barn Owls live in Canada?

The American Barn Owl (T. a. pratincola) extends into the extreme south of Canada in the provinces of British Columbia and Ontario. Barn Owls are highly endangered in Canada and occur in very low numbers there. The South Canadian climate is only marginally suitable for Barn Owls and sadly much of the available grassland habitat has been destroyed by farming practices.

Where do Barn Owls live in the UK?

The Western Barn Owl (T. a. alba) occurs through most of Wales and England as well as in parts of Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the neighboring Republic of Ireland.

They are most common in low-lying areas of the countryside in the United Kingdom but tend to be scarce or absent in upland and mountainous regions. They do particularly well in farmland areas with rough grassland and suitable nest sites such as old barns and nest boxes.

Where Do Barn Owls Live? (Habitat + Distribution) (5)

Barn Owl in flight at dusk in Norfolk, UK

Where do Barn Owls live in Australia?

The Australian Barn Owl (T. a. delicatula) is very widespread in Australia. They occur from coast to coast, wherever suitable hunting habitats and nesting sites are available. They can be found at scattered localities throughout the Australian Outback, although they are absent from the driest desert areas.

Where Do Barn Owls Live? (Habitat + Distribution) (6)
(Video) Where do Barn Owls feed

Australian Barn Owl perched

Where are Barn Owls most common?

Barn Owls are most common in low-lying areas where short, open habitats occur for hunting, and suitable nest sites are available. These could be undisturbed wilderness areas with cliffs nearby, or even a heavily modified farming area with fallow fields and pasture for hunting, and old barns for nesting.

Barn owls are most common in the following landscapes:

  • Marshes
  • River banks
  • Farmlands and pasture
  • Grasslands
  • Prairie
  • Semi-arid areas
  • Open woodland

Where is the best place to see a Barn Owl?

The best place to see Barn Owls is in the vicinity of areas where they are known to nest, roost, and hunt. Listen out for their spooky screeching call in the evenings as they fly over open habitat. You can often make them out as they fly silently on still, moonlit nights.

Barn Owls like to hunt along grassy roadsides where they can often be seen on an early evening or pre-dawn drive through rural areas.

Unfortunately, this habit puts them at great risk from speeding traffic, so be alert. Look out for these birds flying low over the road or perched on fence posts and road signs. A quiet walk in suitable habitat can be equally productive.

Where Do Barn Owls Live? (Habitat + Distribution) (7)

The silhouette of a Barn Owl hunting at dusk in the countryside

Where do Barn Owls live during the day?

Barn Owls spend the day sleeping in a standing position. They select a roost site that is quiet and hidden from sight, although sometimes they are visible if you know where to look. Barn Owls usually sleep in cavities such as small caves and crevices, holes in trees, and in human-made structures like barns, roofs, and nest boxes.

Where do Barn Owls live in the winter?

Barn Owls tend to inhabit the same areas in summer and winter, although some birds from the northern United States are thought to be partial migrants.

Where Do Barn Owls Live? (Habitat + Distribution) (8)

Barn Owl flying low

Where do Barn Owls live in the summer?

Most Barn Owls are sedentary and can be seen in the same areas throughout the year.

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(Video) A guide to Barn Owl habitats

FAQs

What is the distribution of the Barn Owl? ›

The barn owl (Tyto alba) is the most widely distributed species of owl in the world and one of the most widespread of all species of birds, being found almost everywhere except for the polar and desert regions, Asia north of the Himalayas, most of Indonesia, and some Pacific Islands.

Where are barn owls found in the United States? ›

The American barn owl is native to North and South America, and has been introduced to Hawaii. The ashy-faced owl (T. glaucops) was for some time included in T. alba, and by some authors its populations from the Lesser Antilles still are.

Where do barn owls live are they restricted to certain regions or are they globally distributed? ›

One of the most widely-distributed owls globally, barn owls can be found on every continent except Antarctica, as well as throughout the Chesapeake region. Most stay in the same place year-round, but those at the northern-most extent of the range may move south to breed.

Where are the most barn owls? ›

Barn Owls are most common in low-lying areas where short, open habitats occur for hunting, and suitable nest sites are available. These could be undisturbed wilderness areas with cliffs nearby, or even a heavily modified farming area with fallow fields and pasture for hunting, and old barns for nesting.

Where do owls live the most? ›

Owls live in a variety of habitats, including coniferous forests, mountains, deserts, and plains. The snowy owl lives in the cold tundra of the north. Owls nest in a variety of ways. Several species, such as great gray and great horned owls, live in old hawk or squirrel nests.

Do barn owls always live in barns? ›

Barn Owls don't only live in barns! Historically they lived in many different types of rural buildings and tree hollows. These days they mainly roost and nest in: Nestboxes in modern agricultural buildings.

Do barn owls live in cold climates? ›

HABITAT (HOME):

They are found on every continent. Barn owls can not tolerate extreme cold, so those that nest in the north may migrate south as weather becomes severe. Open fields with scattered trees are essential to barn owls. A barn owl family needs an incredible number of mice, voles and shrews to survive.

What US state has the most owls? ›

All states have owls, but they are most common in Washington, Oregon and Nevada. Owls are one of the most interesting and iconic birds in North America. They can be found in every state in the contiguous United States, but they are most common in the western states of Washington, Oregon, and Nevada.

What states do owls live in? ›

They are common in all the lower 48 States. These owls like second growth forests with adjacent open clearings and fields. But they are found in nearly all habitats. They occur in swamps, farmlands, forests, orchards, and deserts.

What is the distribution range of the snowy owl? ›

The aptly named Snowy Owl is mainly a circumpolar species, which means that individuals live and nest in the far north regions around the North Pole. In the non-breeding season, this species also can be found in areas of southern Canada and the northern United States, as well as parts of Asia and Europe.

How many barn owls are left in the world? ›

Recent counts estimate that there are anywhere between 4 million and 10 million barn owls in the world. This species is listed as one of Least Concern by the IUCN's Red List. Habitat decline is the biggest threat to these owls, though their populations do remain mostly stable.

How many barn owls are in the world? ›

Europe forms approximately 5% of the global range so a very preliminary estimate of the global population is 4,400,000-9,200,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed.

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