Barred Owl

Barred Owl

name = Barred Owl
status = LC
status_system = iucn3.1
status_ref = * IUCN2007|assessors=BirdLife International|year=2004|id=48547|title=Strix varia|downloaded=31 July 2008 Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern.]

image_width = 250px
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Aves
ordo = Strigiformes
familia = Strigidae
genus = "Strix"
species = "S. varia"
binomial = "Strix varia"
binomial_authority = Barton, 1799
synonyms ="Syrnium varium"

The Barred Owl, "Strix varia", is a large typical owl. It goes by many other names, including eight hooter, rain owl, wood owl, and striped owl, but is probably known best as the hoot owl.


The adult is 44 cm long with a 112 cm wingspan. It has a pale face with dark rings around the eyes, a yellow beak and brown eyes. It is the only typical owl of the eastern United States which has brown eyes; all others have yellow eyes. The head is round and lacks ear tufts, a distinction from the Short-eared Owl. The upper parts are mottled gray-brown. The underparts are light with markings; the chest is barred horizontally while the belly is streaked lengthwise. The legs and feet are covered in feathers up to the talons.cite book| last =Terres| first =J. K.| authorlink =John Kenneth Terres| title =The Audubon Society Encyclopedia of North American Birds| publisher =Knopf| date =1980| location =New York, NY| pages = 665| doi =| id =ISBN 0394466519 ]

Distribution and habitat

Breeding habitat is dense woods across Canada, the eastern United States and south to Central America; in recent years it has spread to the western United States. Barred Owls may be partly responsible for the recent decline of the Northern Spotted Owl, native to Washington, Oregon, and California. Since the 1960s, Barred Owls have been expanding their range westward from the eastern US, perhaps because man made changes have created new suitable habitat in the west. [ [ Barred Owl Displaces Northern Spotted Owl at Olympic, Scott Gremel, Natural Resources Year in Review, National Park System.] ] When Spotted Owls and Barred Owls share the same environment, the latter are generally more aggressive and out-compete the former, leading to decreased populations of the native owls. [ [ Using Ecological-Niche Modeling to Predict Barred Owl Invasions with Implications for Spotted Owl Conservation] , A. Townsend Peterson and C. Richard Robins, Conservation Biology, pages 1161-1165, Volume 17, No. 4, August 2003]

Recent studies show suburban neighborhoods can be ideal habitat for barred owls. Using transmitters, scientists found that populations increased faster in the suburban settings than in old growth forest. The main danger to owls in suburban settings is from cars. The increased offspring offset the death rate due to impacts from cars and disease. [ [ Owls Get Wise to Better Life in Cities] , Jeanna Bryner, LiveScience Staff Writer, 2007]

Behavior and ecology


The Barred Owl's nest is often in a tree cavity; it may also take over an old nesting site used by a crow or squirrel. [cite book
last = Sattler
first = Helen Roney
title = The Book of North American Owls
publisher = Clarion Books
date = 1995
pages =41
url =
isbn = 0395605245
] It is a permanent resident, but may wander after the nesting season. If a nest site has proved suitable in the past they will often reuse it as the birds are non-migratory. In the United States, eggs are laid from early-January in southern Florida to mid-April in northern Maine, and consist of 2 to 4 eggs per clutch. Eggs are brooded by the female with hatching taking place approximately 4 weeks later. Young owls fledge four to five weeks after hatching. [ [ Barred Owl Factsheet] , Lee and Rose Warner Nature Center, 2008]

Feeding habits

The diet of the Barred Owl consists mostly of mice of many species, but it also feeds on rabbits, chipmunks, foxes, Opossums and also birds such as grouse and doves. It occasionally wades into water in order to capture fish or terrapins.

The Barred Owl hunts by waiting on a high perch at night, or flying through the woods and swooping down on prey. It generally hunts near dawn or dusk, though it may also hunt on cloudy days. It may fly even in full daylight when disturbed. Of the North American owls, it is the species most likely to be active during the day, especially when raising chicks.


The usual call is a series of eight accented hoots ending in "oo-aw", with a downward pitch at the end. The most common mnemonic device for remembering the call is "Who cooks for you, who cooks for you all." It is noisy in most seasons. When agitated, this species will make a buzzy, rasping hiss. While calls are most common at night, the birds do call during the day as well.


External links

* [ Barred Owl - "Strix varia"] - USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter
* [ Barred Owl Species Account] - Cornell Lab of Ornithology
* [ Barred Owl Information and Photos] - South Dakota Birds and Birding
* [ Eleanor the Urban Barred Owl] Rogue Valley, Oregon, historic neighborhood loves its resident Barred Owl
* [ Mystique of the Hoot Owl]
* [ Audio clip of a barred owl call] (in Audacity Audio Block format: most browser media plugins and 3rd party media players will recognize it)
* [ Short Video of a Barred Owl in North Carolina] - Stellar Media Video
* [ A Series of short Barred Owl videos from Florida] -

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Barred owl — (Zo[ o]l.) A large American owl ({Syrnium nebulosum}); so called from the transverse bars of a dark brown color on the breast. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • barred owl — barred′ owl′ n. orn a large owl, Strix varia, of E North America, having its breast barred and abdomen streaked with brown • Etymology: 1805–15, amer …   From formal English to slang

  • barred owl — n. a large, North American owl (Strix varia) with bars of brown feathers across the breast …   English World dictionary

  • barred owl — noun large owl of eastern North America having its breast and abdomen streaked with brown • Syn: ↑Strix varia • Hypernyms: ↑owl, ↑bird of Minerva, ↑bird of night, ↑hooter • Member Holonyms: ↑Strix …   Useful english dictionary

  • barred owl — meksikinė pelėda statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas atitikmenys: lot. Strix varia angl. barred owl vok. Streifenkauz, m rus. пёстрая неясыть, f pranc. chouette rayée, f ryšiai: platesnis terminas – tikrosios pelėdos …   Paukščių pavadinimų žodynas

  • barred owl — a large owl, Strix varia, of eastern North America, having its breast barred and abdomen streaked with dark brown. [1805 15, Amer.] * * * …   Universalium

  • barred owl — noun Date: 1811 a large North American owl (Strix varia) with brown eyes and bars of dark brown on the breast …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Barred Owl Bend — is a privately owned botanical garden (5.4 acres) and bird sanctuary located in Pittsboro, North Carolina that is devoted to collecting and testing only the highest quality perennials, shrubs and trees and allowing natural conditions to determine …   Wikipedia

  • Rusty-barred Owl — NOTOC Taxobox name = Rusty barred Owl image width = image caption = status = NT status system = iucn3.1 status ref =IUCN2006|assessors=BirdLife International|year=2004|id=48549|title=Strix hylophila|downloaded=16 May 2006] regnum = Animalia… …   Wikipedia

  • rusty-barred owl — brazilinė pelėda statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas atitikmenys: lot. Strix hylophila angl. rusty barred owl vok. Brasilkauz, m rus. бразильская неясыть, f pranc. chouette dryade, f ryšiai: platesnis terminas – tikrosios pelėdos …   Paukščių pavadinimų žodynas

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