Barred Owl

Strix varia




Barn Owls, Typical Owls (Tytonidae & Strigidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:


Number of Eggs:

2 - 3

Incubation Days:

28 - 33

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

15 - 80 feet above ground in tree.

Nest Material:

Uses abandoned nests.





Barred Owl: Medium-sized, large-headed owl with large, brown eyes, concentric rings around pale face, and no ear tufts. Upperparts are brown with white markings. Underparts are white with dark bars on breast and dark streaks on belly. Heavily streaked, spotted, and variegated brown, white, and buff overall. Sexes are similar.

Range and Habitat

Barred Owl: Widespread in the eastern half of North America; spreading westward in the northern portion of range, where it is causing concern in Washington, Oregon, and California that competition and hybridization may impact populations of endangered Spotted Owls. Preferred habitats include deep, moist forests, wooded swamps, and woodlands near waterways.

Breeding and Nesting

Barred Owl: Nests in cavities or uses abandoned Red-shouldered Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, squirrel, or crow nests. Lays two to three white eggs. Incubation ranges from 28 to 33 days and is carried out by the female; male brings her food on the nest.

Foraging and Feeding

Barred Owl: Mostly nocturnal and crepuscular; feeds on a wide variety of prey, including voles, shrews, mice, rats, squirrels, young rabbits, bats, moles, opossums, mink, weasels, and some birds; also eats small fish, turtles, frogs, snakes, lizards, crayfish, scorpions, beetles, crickets, and grasshoppers.


Barred Owl: Call is a resounding "hoo, hoo, too-HOO; hoo, hoo, too-HOO, ooo", often phrased as "Who, cooks, for-you Who, cooks, for-you, all" with the last syllable dropping off noticeably.

Similar Species

Barred Owl: Great Gray Owl is larger, grayer, has yellow eyes, and longer tail. Spotted Owl has white-spotted underparts.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
The upper front part of a bird.
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X