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Barn Owl

Barn Owls are usually only seen at night. The pale, white, heart-shaped face and underparts are distinctive (Photo: Richard T. Mills).

Barn Owl Tyto alba

Irish name Scréachóg reilige.

Length 37–39cm.

Wingspan 84–93cm.

Estimated Irish breeding population 400 to 450 pairs.

Map of Barn Owl distribution in Ireland. Patchily distributed or now absent from much of north, north-west and east Ireland. The stronghold of the species is in the SW.

Habitat Hunts over rough grassland, woodland edges and any rough, open areas. Nests mainly in ruined or derelict buildings, occasionally in large cavities in old trees.

Diet Small mammals such as mice, shrews, voles and rats. Small birds are occasionally eaten, mainly in winter.

Nesting season April to July.

Eggs Usually three to five eggs are laid, which are matt white and spherical.

Incubation period 29 to 33 days, exclusively by the female.

Fledging time 54–62 days.

Number of broods reared per year One.

A Barn Owl parent (left) brings a Wood Mouse to feed its chick. The nest was in an old Castle in Co. Cork (Richard T. Mills)

Have a look at the details of the other species in the survey