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Kidadl Team

SEPTEMBER 02, 2021

Ashy-Faced Owl: 15 Facts You Won’t Believe!

Ashy-faced owl facts are about an endemic species of the barn owl.

The ashy-faced owl (Tyto glaucops) is a barn owl species endemic and native to the Island of Hispaniola in the regions of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. It is also found in some of the islands nearby. Even though the ashy-faced owl is endemic to a very small region, their population is quite stable and they have the conservation status of Least Concern. Formerly, the ashy-faced owl was considered to be the same species as the North American barn owl.

This barn owl belongs to the family Tytonidae. They have yellowish-brown upper parts with a pale underside. Their length ranges from 10.6-17 in (27-43 cm). They are found in a variety of different habitats, some of which are forests, woodlands, and caves. They can also be found in degraded forest habitats or near human settlements. The diet of an ashy-faced owl is carnivorous. This bird mainly feeds on small mammals like mice, amphibians like frogs, and reptiles. Their food material also includes smaller birds. Being nocturnal in nature, they catch their prey in the dark. Their communication methods include calls and vocalizations. Rapid clicking trills are characteristic of this barn owl. They make nests in crevices of trees or in human-made structures.

To learn more about this barn owl species, keep reading! You can also check out Stygian owl facts and northern hawk owl facts.

Ashy-Faced Owl Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an ashy-faced owl?

The ashy-faced owl is a species of barn owl with an ashy-gray heart-shaped face. Earlier, the ashy-faced owl was thought to be the same species as the North American barn owl.

What class of animal does an ashy-faced owl belong to?

The ashy-faced owl (Tyto glaucops) is a part of the class Aves. They belong to the family Tytonidae, and genus Tyto.

How many ashy-faced owls are there in the world?

The population of this barn owl has not been estimated, but they seem to have a stable trend in population. Even so, they are described as an uncommon owl species, due to their limited geographical distribution.

Where does an ashy-faced owl live?

The ashy-faced owl is an endemic species and found only found in Hispaniola, in the Caribbean. Their natural range and distribution include Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and smaller islands nearby.

What is an ashy-faced owl's habitat?

The habitat of an ashy-faced owl (Tyto glaucops) is characterized by any kind of tropical or subtropical forest, cave, plantation, open woodland, and building. They also prefer living in any degraded former forest. It is not uncommon to see this barn owl species near human settlements. They are even known to make nests in places of human settlements, like an attic.

Who do ashy-faced owls live with?

Though the exact social habits of the ashy-faced owl species are not known, it can be assumed they display habits similar to that of other barn owls. In general, barn owls are solitary in nature, but can also be found in pairs sometimes. Additionally, barn owls are known to hunt and catch their prey, alone. They do not defend their feeding or hunting grounds, either.

How long does an ashy-faced owl live?

A barn owl usually lives for one to five years. However, in more protected habitats, they can live up to 15 years of age. The same can be assumed about the ashy-faced owl (Tyto glaucops).

How do they reproduce?

Not a lot is known about the reproductive habits in this species. However, their breeding season lasts from January to June, with nestlings being born in May or June. The female lays three to seven eggs in nests made in crevices or cavities of trees or human-made structures. Their nesting pattern is very similar to the common barn owl (Tyto alba).

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the ashy-faced owl has been marked as Least Concern by the International Union For Conservation Of Nature (IUCN). Within their limited distribution in the Hispaniola Island, their population range is quite extensive and covers significant areas of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and hence, they were not assigned the conservation status of Vulnerable. There can be some competition between this species and the common barn owl as their range overlaps significantly. However, the extent of that is not well-established.

Ashy-Faced Owl Fun Facts

What do ashy-faced owls look like?

The ashy-faced owl has quite a fascinating appearance. Their facial disc appears heart-shaped and ash-gray, with an orangish-brown rim around it. This facial feature has led to the name of the owl. The plumage beneath their eyes appears brown, while their beak is yellowish in color. Coming to the overall plumage, the ashy-faced owl has yellowish-brown feathers with a pale underside. The upper parts of their body have dark speckles all over. The wings appear yellowish-brown, while the edges are darker and orange-brown in color. These owls have long yellowish-brown legs with blackish-brown claws. Sexual dimorphism exists between the males and females, as the females are slightly larger in size.

The ashy-faced owl makes rapid trilling calls.

How cute are they?

The ashy-faced owl (Tyto glaucops) is one of the most fascinating owls to look at. Hence, this species can certainly be described as being very cute. Their heart-shaped face further adds to their charm.

How do they communicate?

This owl species mainly communicate through vocalizations. Their call sounds like a raspy wheeze that lasts for two to three seconds. They also produce rapid clicking trills that sound like, 'criiisssssh'. This species of barn owl sounds different than its close relative, the North American barn owl.

How big is an ashy-faced owl?

The length of an ashy-faced owl is between 10.6-17 in (27-43 cm). Their wingspan ranges between 10-11 in (26–28 cm) in females and 9.5-10 in (24–25 cm) in males. As you can understand, the females in this species are larger in size than the males. However, in comparison to the largest species of owl, known as the great gray owl, which has a length between 24-33 in (61-84 cm), the ashy-faced owl is more than two times smaller.

How fast can an ashy-faced owl fly?

The exact speed of the ashy-faced owl (Tyto glaucops) has not been ascertained. However, in general, owls belonging to the barn owl species are known to fly slowly looking for their prey. Their flight speed is between 10-20 mph (16-32 kph).

How much does an ashy-faced owl weigh?

Since the male ashy-faced barn owl is smaller in size compared to the females, there is a slight difference in their weights, as well. While the male birds weigh between 0.6-0.8 lb (260–346 g), the female birds of this species weigh between 1-1.2 lb (465–535 g). Both the male and female ashy-faced owl are much greater in weight than the burrowing owl, which weighs between 0.3-0.5 lb (140-240 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male and female owls of this species are referred to as male ashy-faced owls and female ashy-faced owls, respectively.

What would you call a baby ashy-faced owl?

A baby ashy-faced owl is known as an owlet.

What do they eat?

The ashy-faced owl (Tyto glaucops) is a carnivorous species with a variety of smaller animals and birds in its diet. This owl feeds on small invertebrates, birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians like frogs as food. They have been known to prey on birds like nightjars, swift, hummingbirds, and so on. Rats and mice also form a major part of their diet. The ashy-faced owl hunts in the dark during dawn or dusk. Interestingly, the diet of the common barn owl (Tyto alba) and the ashy-faced owl overlaps to a great extent. Both these species prey on 92 of the same animals and birds as their food.

Are they dangerous?

There are no instances to suggest that the ashy-faced owl (Tyto glaucops) is particularly dangerous towards humans. In general, it is best to approach owls with caution, as they might get aggressive if they feel threatened. However, the ashy-faced owl is certainly dangerous for its prey animals.

Would they make a good pet?

The ashy-faced owl is not kept as a pet. A barn owl is not considered to be a good pet, in general. These birds have sharp talons and waterproof feathers, which are not ideal for stroking. Additionally, being nocturnal, their habits and behavior won't make it easy for them to be domesticated.

Did you know...

Being a nocturnal hunter, the ashy-faced owl has the perfect capability to hunt in the dark. This is because their eyes are composed of a higher number of retinal rods which aids in night vision. While retinal cones function best in bright light, rod cells are known to provide great vision in the dark. Owls, like the ashy-faced owl, have 30 times more rod cells than cones in their eyes. This aids them in hunting.

How many eggs do ashy-faced owls lay?

The female ashy-faced owl lays between three to seven eggs. The eggs are pure white in color and laid between the months of January to June. This barn owl makes nests in the cavities of hollow trees or branches of trees, and even in artificial nest sites in human settlements.

Do ashy-faced owls migrate?

Ashy-faced owls are sedentary barn owl species. They remain in the same location through all seasons, hence, their distribution is quite limited. However, there is some dispersal after breeding, though the extent of this movement is not known.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our Java sparrow facts and pigeon facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable owl reading coloring pages.

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