The Barn Owl is found throughout Australia. Its distribution is limited only by habitat and food availability. Habitat: By day the Barn Owl roosts in hollow logs, caves or dense trees, and is usually seen alone or in pairs. A Barn Owl at Cravens Peak in Queensland. Photo Jane Blackwood. Owls are versatile and live in a range of habitats including snowy, mountainous regions; deserts; open wet forests and rainforests; woodlands and grasslands across the world. In Australia, owls are found in every state and territory. Feeding and diet Barn Owls feed mostly on small mammals, mainly rodents, and birds, but some insects, frogs and lizards are also eaten. One of the more favoured foods is the introduced House Mouse, Mus musculus. Barn Owls hunt in flight, searching for prey on the ground using their exceptional hearing. Barn owls are the most widespread of all owl species, and are found on every continent except Antarctica. In the Americas, barn owls occur in suitable habitat throughout South and Central America, and in North America as far north as the northern United States and southwestern British Columbia. Found in northern and eastern parts of Australia, the owl regularly lives in localized pairings. However in places where prey is abundant, loose colonies may occur. A powerful Tyto owl, the Australian masked owl — a Tasmanian sub-species, is the largest Tyto owl in the world. Its plumage is highly variable.
Owls of all kinds have been known to attack people when defending their young, their mates, or their territories. Frequent targets include unsuspecting joggers and hikers. Often victims escape without injury, and deaths from owl attacks are extremely rare.
HANGING OUT - ROOSTING At the end of a day or night spent hunting, owls return to a resting place, called a roost. Most owls roost alone, or near a nest during the breeding season. However, there are a few species that roost communally, or share a roosting area with other individuals of the same species.
Unlike the great horned owls, the overall foot size and strength of the Eurasian eagle-owl is not known to have been tested, but the considerably smaller horned owl has one of the strongest grips ever measured in a bird.
Barking owl. They are a medium-sized brown owl and have a characteristic voice with calls ranging from a barking dog noise to a shrill human-like howl of great intensity. The Red List of Threatened Species refers to this species as the barking boobook.
The Powerful Owl is a carnivore, eating mainly medium to large tree-dwelling mammals, particularly the Common Ringtail Possum, Pseudocheirus peregrinus, and the Great Glider. It will also take roosting birds and sometimes small ground-dwelling mammals such as rabbits or small marsupials.
Owls can do all this because they have strong, lethal talons. They can exert 28 pounds of pressure when squeezing sharp claws into a critter, quickly piercing organs and snapping the spine.
Australia's smallest and most common species of owl is in decline, and a Perth researcher is determined to find out why. The boobook owl, named after its distinctive call, is not listed as endangered, but its population has been falling for the past 10 years.
Australia is a bird lovers' paradise. Twitchers (birdwatchers) fly south from all over the world to tick off items on their birdy bucket lists. Our top 10 favourite Aussie birds Splendid Fairy-wren. Nankeen Kestrel. Great Crested Grebe. Rock Parrot. Australian Southern Cassowary. Little Penguin. Barking Owl. Tawny Frogmouth.
Calls. Barn Owls don't hoot the way most owls do; instead, they make a long, harsh scream that lasts about 2 seconds. It's made mostly by the male, who often calls repeatedly from the air. Males use it to invite a female to inspect a nest site, and females use it to beg for food from the male.
Barn Owls put their nests in holes in trees, cliff ledges and crevices, caves, burrows in river banks, and in many kinds of human structures, including barn lofts, church steeples, houses, nest boxes, haystacks, and even drive-in movie screens.
Predators of the barn owl include large American opossums (Didelphis), the common raccoon, and similar carnivorous mammals, as well as eagles, larger hawks and other owls.
They also perch on posts or other low perches listening for prey in darkness, locating it by ear. As with all owls, Barn Owls "echo-locate" prey -- changing the position of their head until they zero-in on the exact location of a sound (such as the squeak of a mouse or the rustle of their prey's feet).
All owls are predators; they depend on other animals for food. However, very few predators feed on owls (except sometimes other owls). In fact, owls often eat other predators, such as weasels, bats, shrews and insect-eating birds. Therefore, owls hold a position at the top of the food chain.