The Barn owl is the most widely distributed species of owl and one of the most widespread of all birds. The barn owl is found almost everywhere in the world.
There is a considerable variation between the sizes and colour of the approximately 28 subspecies but most are between 33 and 39 cm in length. The face is characteristically heart-shaped and is white in most subspecies. The plumage on head and back is a mottled shade of grey or brown, the underparts vary from white to brown and are sometimes speckled with dark markings.
The barn owl is nocturnal over most of its range, Barn owls specialise in hunting animals on the ground and nearly all of their food consists of small mammals which they locate by sound, their hearing being very acute. They mate for life unless one of the pair gets killed, when a new pair bond may be formed. Breeding takes place at varying times of year according to locality, with a clutch, averaging about four eggs, being laid in a nest in a hollow tree, old building or fissure in a cliff. The female does all the incubation, and she and the young chicks are reliant on the male for food. When large numbers of small prey are readily available, barn owl populations can expand rapidly, and globally the bird is considered to be of least conservation concern. Some subspecies with restricted ranges are more threatened.