Barn Owl

Tyto alba

بومة الحقل/ البومة البيضاء

Status: Uncommon

The Barn Owl belongs to the Tytonidae family in the Strigiformes order. It is 33-39 cm in size, 263 - 435 grams in weight and with a wingspan of 80-95 cm. The Barn Owl is a medium-sized, pale-colored owl that has a unique appearance among the nocturnal raptors. Its face is white-colored and heart-shaped with dark eyes. The under parts are white as well with a vary amount of dark markings. The back and upperparts vary between pale orange and gray. It has long and rounded wings, and a short tail. The Barn Owl doesn't hoot like most owls, but produces a long spine-tingling "shree" scream. It can also hiss like a snake to scare away intruders. The Barn Owl's flight is elegant – silent and slow. It feeds mainly on rodents, amphibians, insects and small birds. Sometimes during the hunt it hovers with its legs sticking out, and then drops down quickly towards the prey. The Barn Owl can be found near farmlands, forests and urban areas. It nests inside tree holes, attics or abandoned ruins and embraces gladly nesting boxes. In some superstitions the Barn Owl is considered to be a "demon owl" but actually it can bring a great benefit to the farmers – as it serves as a biological pesticide of rodents. The Barn Owl has a very wide distribution including North and South America, Europe, North and Central Africa, Australia, India and Southeast Asia. In the region there is only one known subspecies: Tyto alba erlangeriMost of the populations are stable, though in the past they were affected severely from poisoning the farmlands by pesticides.

Conservation status: least concern.

Migratory behaviour: Resident

Sites: Beitillu, Umm at-Tut, Wadi Al-Quff nature reserves