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Barred Owl Strix varia


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Barred Owl
credit: Mdf/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Strigidae, Owls view all from this family

Description ADULT Has brown plumage overall; upperparts are dark brown, but beautifully marked with white spots, flight feathers with dark bars, while underparts are buff-gray with bold, dark streaks. Note short, barred tail, brown concentric rings around eyes, and ruff of brown-barred feathers on throat. Eyes are dark and bill is yellow. JUVENILE Has fluffy plumage at first, but acquires adultlike plumage by fall.

Dimensions Length: 20" (51 cm); Wngspn: 3' 8" (1.1 m)

Habitat Widespread and common, associated with mixed deciduous and coniferous woods and forest and often found near water. Range has expanded north and west in recent decades, but territorial birds are generally rather sedentary. Nests in tree holes or abandoned crow's nests.

Observation Tips Easy to hear in wooded habitats and occasionally flushed from roost in daytime. Amazing daytime views can sometimes be had beside boardwalks through swamp reserves in Florida.

Range Western Canada, Southeast, Texas, Florida, Mid-Atlantic, Plains, Rocky Mountains, Northwest, New England, Eastern Canada, Great Lakes

Voice Utters a series of gruff hooting notesótypically who-hu-ho-hooómostly after dark, but sometimes during daytime.

Discussion Northeastern America's most familiar medium-sized woodland owl. Sometimes found perched on tree branch during daytime, with fluffed up body plumage; proportionately large head and rounded facial disc are obvious. Feeds on small mammals, amphibians, and large invertebrates. Nests in tree holes or sometimes in abandoned twig nests of other birds. Sexes are similar.