Of the five species of owl which breed in Britain the barn owl is becoming much less common generally - and in some places, rare. A recent report suggested that there might be between 4,000 - 5,000 pairs of barn owls living in the British Isles.

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Appearance

In appearance the barn owl is very distinctive. It has a body length of up to 36cm (14") and has handsome buff-coloured plumage mottled with grey on the upper parts of the body and wings. The heart-shaped head and the underparts of the barn owl are white. Barn owls replace their feathers in order to remain sleek and manoeuvrable in flight. They do this through moulting, a process which takes place over a period of two to three years.

Barn owls have large eyes and, as with all owls, the head can be turned 180 to permit the bird to look directly backwards.

Photo: snowmanradio

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