Barred Owl Biology

Diagnosis: The Barred Owl is medium in size. Its coloration is gray and brown with white horizontal “bars” on the chest and vertical bars on the belly. They have a whitish face with brown trimming on the edge of the face and around the eyes. They have long tails and a yellow beak that is mostly covered with feathers.

While other owl species (besides the Spotted Owl) have yellow eyes, Barred Owl eyes are brown.

Measurements & Weights:
Wingspan: 40-50 in. Length: 17-24 in. Tail: 8.5-10 in.
Average Weights:
Male: 1.4 lbs.
Female: 1.8 lbs. Females are slightly larger than males.
Appearance for both juvenile and adult is the same once the young shed their down.

 Natural History: The Barred Owl gets its name from the horizontal white “bars” splayed across its chest. As a nocturnal creature, the Barred Owl roosts in nests during the day and hunts by night. Tree cavities are their preferred nesting site, and they will often take over those occupied by hawks and other birds, and squirrels. They are a non-migratory bird, and when they find a suitable nest will defend it throughout the year. Their only predator as an adult is the Great Horned Owl, but juveniles are often attacked by cats. Reproduction and

Life Cycle: Barred Owls are a monogamous animal and mate for life, with the breeding season lasting from March through August. Their eggs are whitish and round, and generally 2-4 are laid per clutch, with an incubation period lasting 28-33 days. Eggs are not laid consecutively, but every 2-3 days, and incubation starts when the first egg is laid. The female seldom leaves the nest during the incubation period, and so the male brings her food during this time. The young crawl out of the nest four weeks after hatching, and are called branchers until they begin to fly around 30-40 days after hatching. Unlike many other owl species, the young are cared for by their parents for the first several months of their lives. At about 4-5 weeks old the young begin to leave the nest to nearby branches but do not fledge until they are about 6 weeks old and may additionally receive food from the parents for as long as 4 months.

They have a life span of 10 years in the wild, but can live up to 32 years in captivity.