Facts about Barred Owl. The Barred Owl was first identified by Barton in 1799 but was already well known to settlers by a variety of names. "Scientific name for Barred Owl is Strix varia". The Barred Owl is commonly called the hoot owl, striped owl, eight hooter owl, wood owl, and round headed owl. The French call it Le Chat-huant du Nord.
There are several subspecies of Strix varia; Strix varia varia, the standard for the species.
Physical Characteristics of Barred Owl
This grey-brown owl has a rounded head without ear tufts. The Barred Owl has a facial disk with dark concentric lines around a pale gray and brown face.
The Barred Owl has white horizontal bars on the chest and vertical bars on the abdomen, giving it the name “barred owl”. The upper part of the body is grey to brown, though the wing coverts have off-white spots. The flight feathers have off-white beige to brown bars. Their tales range from grey to brown and have several light colored bars on them. The Barred Owl has dark brown eyes that approach black in some individuals.
The legs and feet are covered with feathers.
The Barred Owls are 16 to 24 inches tall (40.6 to 61 cm). Their wingspan ranges from 38 to 48 inches (96.5 to 122 cm). It ranges from one to two and a half pounds (.45 to 1.13 kg) per individual.
The Barred Owl is sometimes mistaken for the bard owl, but that is a separate species.
Behavior of Barred Owl
Barred Owls primarily eat rodents like mice, shrews, meadow voles, rats, squirrels, rabbits, bats, possums, and even weasels. They have been shown to occasionally take cats, and they regularly prey on other birds like pigeons and doves. Barred Owls will eat aquatic life like fish, frogs, and turtles. Barred Owls will eat large insects like grasshoppers and crickets.
Barred Owls nest in older, larger trees. Barred Owls nest in tree cavities, often using those made by woodpeckers.
These birds do not migrate across the continent but will wander throughout their range in search of mates and suitable nesting sites.
Their nesting season depends on where they are. Those in the northern end of its range in Canada nest around April, whereas those in Florida nest as early as mid-January. Their clutches range from two to four eggs, parents producing larger clutches when there is ample food. The Barred Owls are brooded for four weeks, and the owls fledge four to five weeks later.
This owl creates the stereotypical hoo call we know owls for, usually making eight accented “oos” per call.
Habitat of Barred Owl
Barred Owls like wooded areas amongst open grassy fields; they have spread rapidly into modern suburbs because it gives them easy access to the rodents they eat.
Range of Barred Owl
The Barred Owl is found across North America. The Barred Owl is found from the forests of Quebec, Canada throughout the eastern U.S. to the northern edge of Mexico. Their range has been spreading west along with development, possibly offsetting the northern spotted owl in the Pacific Northwest.
Trivia of Barred Owl
The Barred Owl is closely related to the Spotted Owl, but that owl has spots instead of streaks on its under size. Spotted Owls and Barred Owls can breed, but the offspring are sterile. The results of those unions are called Sparred Owls or Bottled Owls.
This is the only typical owl in the eastern US with brown eyes; the others have yellow eyes.
The Barred Owls are hunted by the great horned owl.