The Barn Owls that live in regions that receive plenty of rainfall and have lush growth have a diet that consists of 74-100% of small mammals [Konishi, 2012] . Those who dwell in warmer and drier areas have to find other food sources such as rodents, lizards, birds, as well as insects. If they live in a peculiar habitat they may diverge from their regular diets and eat things such as fish or even bats. Most Tyto albas have a few species that they enjoy eating the most and rarely diverge from these. If the Barn Owl lives in a region that experiences seasons then depending on the diverse seasons their diet may swing. But overall, the most preferred meal is mice as well as voles. If the prey is relatively small Tyto alba will often times swallow it whole. Even if it is large everything is eaten. After all the digestible foods are processed they regurgitate all of the indigestible items in what in called a pellet. 
    Tyto alba hunts mostly at night except for those in Northern Europe. In general they hunt their prey either from watching and waiting from perches or while they are flying. [Taylor, 1994] They swoop down to catch their prey. Even though its feet and talons are incredibly strong the strike doesn’t always kill the mouse. [Sparks,Soper] Tyto abla must break the neck. Since they are night hunters they have developed extremely sensitive hearing that allows them to hunt with just their ears. They learn to distinguish from different sounds so they know prey from friends and enemies. To be sure that the Barn Owl really did have superb hearing and was not using its sense of smell Masakazu Konishi performed a curious experiment. He covered a floor with foam so when a mouse walked it would be silent and attached a noisy piece of paper to the mouse’s tail.  Masakazu Konishi observed the Barn Owl attacking the paper without seeming to notice the mouse a little ahead of it. This simple experiment proved that Tyto alba is not using its vision to locate the mice. Konishi decided to photograph the Barn Owl as it was attacking from the air. He noticed the Barn Owl did indeed close its eyes as it caught its prey, appearing to use only its sense of hearing. [Konishi, 2012]


Return to Home page or continue to Reproduction