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Barn owl

Diputación de Málaga

Barn owl

Medium-sized bird (about 39 cm or 15 in) with a bulky head and a plumage in which the fawn brown almost golden on the back contrasts with the pure white of the face, legs and ventral area. Heart-shaped face with very marked edge, with black eyes and light coloured bill. The wings and tail have a very subtle grey, black and white stippling. In flight one sees a bird almost completely white, very agile and completely silent.

Where it lives

Great variety of habitats: crops, steppes, parks and gardens, grasslands and semi-arid environments. Especially present in the vicinity of villages and cities, occupying belltowers, attics, ruins, churches and mansards. It avoids dense woodland areas and mountainous environments.

How it lives

Species resident all year round in the province. Twilight and nocturnal habits. It installs its nest in the cracks and hollows of trees, in hollows between pieces of wood or on shelves. It breeds from March and can make several layings depending on the availability of food. From 4 to 7 eggs per laying. This bird feeds mostly on micromammals (rats, mice, voles) but also catches small birds in roosts. It is a very active bird, with a high metabolic rate, which implies that it captures many prey, more than other owls.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

Common species in most villages and small towns of Malaga. It flies over the nights of Ronda, Antequera or Marbella, for example. In the Great Path it can be watched in stages 9, 16, 18, 24 and 33, among others.

Curious facts

Owls have been related in popular mythology to occultism, spells, the announcement of death or darkness. It was even said that they drank the oil from the candles and lamps in the churches. Nothing is further from reality. Owls are very bright birds (their flight stands out in the darkness of the night) and extremely beneficial for man. Its name comes from the Greek (tuto) and means white owl.

Animal Life > Birds
Common name
Barn owl
Scientific name
Tyto alba
Cultivated and urban environments
Wintering Summer Resident Migration