Barred Owl


Animal Barred Owl
Common Name(s) Barred Owl, Hoot Owl, Eight Hooter, Rain Owl, Wood Owl, Striped Owl
Scientific Name strix varia
Adults are called Male and Female
Young are called Owlets (juveniles are sometimes called fledglings)
Lifespan Wild: 10 yrs. Captive: 20 yrs.
Adult Size 16-25 in. long; 38-49 in. wingspan
Adult Weight 1.1 – 2.3 lbs.
Birth Size
Birth Weight 1.5 oz.
Gestation Period 4 weeks
Number of Young 2 – 4
Where Found Canada, Eastern US, and Mexico
Habitat Dense wooded areas and suburban neighborhoods
Diet Primarily small mammals, along with small birds, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates.
Conservation Status Least concern
Threats Habitat destruction, pollution, disease
Barred owls are generally gray-brown mottled with white over most of the body. Their chests are an off white and flecked with darker spots. They have a light gray, circular face, and a yellow beak. Their eyes are very large and dark, a very important attribute since they are mostly nocturnal. Their legs and feet are covered in feathers up to their razor sharp talons, used to seize prey. Young owls are much lighter in color and have down feathers, making them much fluffier as well.

Interesting Facts

  • They sometimes interbreed with the spotted owl, creating hybrids known as “sparred” or “botted” owls.
  • Like almost all owls, they are almost completely silent when flying, making them excellent ambush predators.
  • They have a very distinctive call, which people often describe as ” Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?” and similar translations.
  • Barred owls have long term mates.
  • They are the only common owl that has dark eyes in the eastern US; all others have yellow eyes.

Additional Resources