Australian Barn Owl (Tyto delicatula)

Australian Barn Owl

[order] STRIGIFORMES | [family] Tytonidae | [latin] Tyto delicatula | [authority] Gould, 1837 | [UK] Australian Barn Owl | [FR] Effraie des clochers | [DE] Schleiereule | [ES] Lechuza de Campanario (Arg, Bo), Lechuza Comun, Lechuza Ratonera (Cr), Lechuza (HN) | [NL] Australische Kerkuil


Monotypic species


The genus Tyto includes all barn-owls (family Tytonidae) except for the bay-owls (subfamily Phodilinae, genus Phodilus) – that is, the true barn-owls, the grass-owls and the masked-owls collectively making up the subfamily Tytoninae. They are darker on the back than the front, usually an orange-brown colour, the front being a paler version of the back or mottled, although there is considerable variation even amongst species. Tyto owls have a divided, heart-shaped facial disc, and lack the ear-like tufts of feathers found in many other owls. Tyto owls tend to be larger than Bay-owls.

Physical charateristics

Australian Barn Owl is brownish-grey to light grey above, mottled pale brown with slight tawny tinge, white below, 4 brown bars on tail. It has longer legs and usually darker than other Barn Owls

Listen to the sound of Australian Barn Owl

[audio: Barn Owl.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

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Australasia : Lesser Sundas, Australasia, Southwest Pacific. Sawu, Roti(?), Timor, Jaco, Wetar, Kisar and Tanimbar Is; Australia and offshore islands; possibly New Britain and New Ireland; also Nissan, Buka, Solomon Is (including Bougainville), S Vanuatu (Erromanga, Tanna, Aneityum), New Caledonia, Loyalty Is, Fiji (N to Rotuma), Wallis and Futuna Is, Niue I, Western Samoa and Samoa. Grass Owls have been recorded occasionally in all mainland states of Australia but are most common in northern and north-eastern Australia.


Occurs in great variety of habitats according to availability of prey. Usually lowlands, but at higher altitudes in many areas, up to c. 4000m.


It is in Australia an opportunistic breeder according to food supply, can be at any time of year, most peaking Mar-Jun and Aug-Nov; May-Aug in New Caledonia. 1 or 2 broods. Site a natural cavity in tree trunk, stump or large hollow branch, 2-20 m above ground, or in cliff or bank.

Feeding habits

Diet consists of small mammals, usually dominated by only few species, especially rats and mice. Also bandicoots (Peramelidae), dasyurid marsupials and gliders

Video Australian Barn Owl


copyright: vanik0r0


Status of many populations uncertain, particularly those on islands, but others locally common; species expanding in some areas, especially temperate regions, as a result of increases in availability of suitable habitats and artificial nest-sites
Status is still under discussion. Although most authorities consider the Australian Barn Owl a separate species, the taxonomy does not state which subspecies should be included. In HBS is it still a subscpecies, also Birdlife does not recognize it as a full species.
Australian Barn Owl status Least Concern


Movements of 65-840 km recorded for delicatula in SE Australia, where some populations highly nomadic, with irruptions associated with rodent plagues, as well as seasonal movements to N areas for dry season (winter) and away from coasts in summer, doubtless accounting for long-distance vagrancy to Norfolk and Lord Howe Is and New Zealand

Distribution map

Australian Barn Owl distribution range map

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