Barn Owl

Barn Owl
Tyto alba

Conservation Status: Globally (Least Concern); Indiana (Endangered)
Range: Worldwide
Habitat: Open grasslands, agricultural fields
Size: 13-16 inches tall; 4 foot wingspan; 1-2 pounds
Diet in the Wild: mice, voles, shrews, small birds
Diet in the Zoo: mice, prepared meat
Lifespan: Around 2 years in the wild; 15+ years in human care

The Owl Exhibit, sponsored by Subaru of Indiana, opened in 2008. These hauntingly beautiful birds are strange creatures of the night. From their ghostly pale facial disks and dark eyes to their eerily silent flight, these owls are built to strike prey in total darkness. Although barn owls are widespread across the globe, this once-common inhabitant is now considered endangered in Indiana. Vanishing ancestral nest sites let to a barn owl population crash as Indiana rapidly converted native habitat and old wooden barns to modern agricultural structures over the last century. Fewer than 50 nests are found annually in Indiana. 

Fun Facts! 

  • The barn owl's heart-shaped face funnels the sound of prey directly to its ears for exceptional attack precision, even in near-total darkness! 
  • Owls cannot move their eyes within the sockets, instead they move their entire head, capable of rotating up to 270 degrees!
Owl B