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Barn Owl

All barn owls belong to the family Tytonidae.

Phil Haynes

(noun) The smaller of two scientific bird families that encompass all owls; the other family is Strigidae. The Tytonidae family includes all species of barn owls and bay owls, and is comprised of approximately 20 species depending on how different morphs and subspecies are classified. Tytonidae owls are not as widespread as their Strigidae cousins are while they are adaptable to different habitats, including urban and suburban areas, they are absent from northern North America, the deserts of Africa and much of Asia. Tytonidae birds do share several unique characteristics however, including:

  • Relatively streamlined, tapered body shape
  • Heart-shaped facial disk that can be manipulated by facial muscles
  • Countershaded plumage that is darker above and paler below

Examples of birds in the Tytonidae family include the common barn owl, Australian masked owl, greater and lesser sooty owls and common grass owl.

Photo – Barn Owl © Phil Haynes


TEYE-TOHN-ih-deye or TEYE-tohn-ih-day

Also Known As:

Barn Owls, Bay Owls

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