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Fun Barred Owl Facts For Kids

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Outdoor & NatureLearn more
Barred Owl

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A barred owl is also called a hoot owl, striped owl, or the northern barred owl. Barred owls belong to the class of Aves within the animal kingdom. They are from the Strigidae family and Strix genus. The scientific name for the barred owl is Strix varia.

The distribution range of these birds includes the eastern United States and southern Canada. They're most commonly found in North America, extending from Florida and Texas to southern Canada. They can be found in southwest Canada, Oregon, Washington, and northern California. Their range has also expanded into the Pacific Northwest due to landscape modifications in these regions. Barred owls inhabit mature forests, consisting of deciduous mixed forests and sometimes, coniferous forests. These arboreal birds inhabit forests near wooded swamps or close to a water source.

The barred owl (Strix varia) has a large rounded head, with a grayish-brown facial disc. The plumage is gray-brown in color with white edges. Barred owls also have dark brown or black eyes without ear tufts.          

Read on for more interesting facts about the barred owl. For more interesting animal facts, check out our articles on the owl and the pygmy owl.

Barred Owl Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a barred owl?

Barred owls are birds of the owl species.  

What class of animal does a Barred belong to?

Barred owls belong to the class of Aves within the animal kingdom. They are from the Strigidae family and Strix genus. The scientific name for the barred owl is Strix varia.

How many barred owls are there in the world?

Barred owls have been given the conservation status of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species. Their breeding population is estimated to be at three million.  

Where does a barred owl live?

Barred owls inhabit mature forests, consisting of deciduous mixed forests and sometimes, coniferous forests. These arboreal birds inhabit forests near wooded swamps or close to a water source.

The distribution range of these birds includes the eastern United States and southern Canada. They're most commonly found in North America, extending from Florida and Texas to southern Canada. They can be found in southwestern Canada, Oregon, Washington, and northern California. Their range has also expanded into the Pacific Northwest due to landscape modifications in these regions.

What is a barred owl's habitat?

The barred owl habitat comprises mature forests, consisting of deciduous mixed forests and sometimes, coniferous forests. These arboreal birds inhabit trees near wooded swamps or trees close to a water source. Dense foliage in the woods is perfect for daytime roosting and large tree cavities create the ideal nest site. They are dependent on old-growth forests within their home range.  

Who do barred owls live with?

These wildlife birds live on their own for most of the year. The birds come together to live in family groups during the breeding season and remain together till the young leave their nests.  

How long does a barred owl live?

The average barred owl lifespan in the wild is 18 years.      

How do they reproduce?

A pair of barred owls will mate for life. They achieve sexual maturity by two years of age and breed once every year. Breeding season is between December and March and nesting takes place in tree cavities, not on the ground. For nesting, these birds make use of an empty hawk nest, squirrel nest, or crow nest. Courtship behavior involves the male and female bobbing and bowing their heads, raising their wings, and giving out mating calls. A pair will usually emit mating calls in a duet when it's nesting time. The barred owl mating call may be accompanied by a male feeding a female with the two perched close together.

Each clutch consists of between one and five eggs laid in the nest. Females incubate the eggs while males go hunting. Eggs hatch after 28-33 days and young owlets have fine white down. A juvenile barred owl will be ready to leave the nest four to five weeks after hatching.  

What is their conservation status?

Barred owls have been given the conservation status of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species. Their breeding population is estimated to be at three million. Habitat loss is a threat to this species of owls and they are also sometimes caught in hunting traps. With the expansion of their habitat to the Pacific Northwest, these owls compete with spotted owls (Strix occidentalis). The barred owl vs spotted owl hybridization and competition has led to the endangerment of spotted owls.      

Barred Owl Fun Facts

What do barred owls look like?

The barred owl (Strix varia) has a large rounded head, with a grayish-brown facial disc. The barred owl feather and plumage is gray-brown in color with white edges. Barred owls also have dark brown or black eyes without ear tufts. Vertical brown bears can be seen on a white background on their underparts while horizontal brown bars cover their upper breast region. The average barred owl size is 16-25 in (40-63 cm) and wings span 38-49 in (96-125 cm). Young owlets have fine white down.  

Barred Owl

How cute are they?

The barred owl is a very cute bird.

How do they communicate?

A 9 syllable call is used as the signature barred owl sound. The signature call is "hoo, hoo, too-HOO; hoo, hoo, too-HOO, ooo". The mating call is "hoo-WAAAHHH". There's also a barred owl screech, yelp, or bark that the bird uses to communicate. They also have good vision and hearing to detect prey.  

How big is a barred owl?

The average barred owl size is 15.7-25 in (40-63 cm) and wings span 38-49.2 in (96-125 cm).

How fast can a barred owl fly?

On average, these owls can fly at 30 mph (48.2 kph) and this rises to 40 mph (64.3 kph) when necessary.

How much does a barred owl weigh?

The female bird tends to weigh 1.3-2.4 lb (610-1,150 g) and is heavier than the male bird weighing 1-1.7 lb (468-812 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Whether male or female, this bird is called a barred owl.

What would you call a baby barred owl?

Young barred owls are called owlets.

What do they eat?

These nocturnal birds are carnivores. They prey on small mammals, mice, squirrels, rabbits, frogs, snakes, lizards, and insects. They also prey on aquatic creatures like crayfish, crabs, and fish. They cache their prey in nests or branches of trees.  

Are they dangerous?

This bird can be aggressive and territorial if someone intrudes into their natural territory, especially if it's breeding season. They make loud, hoot-barred owl calls to get rid of intruders. While there are some reports of these wildlife birds attacking people, they aren't dangerous and can't kill humans. Any attacks are usually a result of provocation or threat perception.

Would they make a good pet?

No, barred owls are wild birds and would not make good pets.

Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.

Did you know...

There is barred owl symbolism if you happen to see one. Seeing them is believed to bring about protection.

The great horned owl is its predator.

Do barred owls eat cats?

While cats don't form a primary component of their diet, barred owls can kill and prey on cats.  

Where to hang a barred owl house?

If you want to hang a barred owl nest box on a tree, you should do so on a tree within 300 ft (91.4 m) of a water source. The further you place nest boxes from human activity, the more you will be to see a barred owl. Make sure the tree nest boxes are placed away from the direction of rain and keep the nest boxes 15 ft (4.5 m) away from the ground.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these red owl facts and flammulated owl facts pages.

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

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