Barred Owl

( varia)

Conservation Status
Barred Owl
Photo by Tom Baker
  IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

     
  NatureServe

N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
           
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Barred Owl is a common, medium-sized, typical owl that is easily identified by its call. It is not migratory. If suitable prey is present it is a year-round resident. In the wild they live about 10 years. In captivity they have been known to live up to 23 years.

Adults are 17 to 24 long, weigh 17 oz. to 37 oz., and have a 38 to 50 wingspan. Females are larger than males.

The head is round. There are no ear tufts. The facial disk is whitish-brown with a prominent, dark brown outer ring and 4 or 5 fainter, narrower, vaguely-defined, brown rings around each eye. The beak is yellow and is mostly covered by feathers. The eyes are dark brown.

Feathers on the wings, back, and back of head are dark grayish-brown with buffy-white subterminal bars and edges. The tail is long and dark brown with 6 or 7 well-defined, pale brown bars. Feathers on the neck, chest, and belly are buffy-white with dark brown streaking. The neck and upper chest are horizontally streaked, the lower chest and belly are vertically streaked. There is a sharp break where the horizontal streaking meets the vertical streaking. Male and female plumage is identical.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

17 to 24in length

42 to 48 wingspan

 
     
 

Voice

 
   
 

An eight hoot call that sounds like “Who cooks for you, who cooks for you-all.”

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
 

This is the only owl in Minnesota with dark brown eyes. All other owls in the state have yellow eyes.

Great Gray Owl (Strix nebulosa) is a much larger bird, up to 33 long. The eyes are yellow. The rings of the facial disk are more well-defined. The “chin” has a solid black patch. The neck and upper chest do not have horizontal barring.

Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) has prominent, tall ear tufts and yellow eyes.

Northern Hawk Owl (Surnia ulula) has yellow eyes. The neck, chest, and belly have fine, horizontal barring.

Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) has small ear tufts and yellow eyes. The neck and upper chest do not have horizontal barring.

 
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Mature deciduous and mixed forests near water source; wooded swamps.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Migration

 
 

 

 
     
 

Nesting

 
 

The Barred Owl is monogamous and mates for life. It nests in a cavity of an old deciduous tree, often one created by a Pileated Woodpecker, or in an abandoned nest of a squirrel, Red-shouldered Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, or American Crow. Breeding season is from March to August. The female lays usually 2 or 3, but as few as 1 or as many as 5 white, spotless, almost perfectly round eggs. The eggs hatch in 28 to 33 days. The young leave the nest in 35 to 40 days but remain dependent on their parents for food up to 4 more months.

 
     
 

Food

 
 

Mostly small mammals, including mice, voles, shrews, chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits; also amphibians, reptiles, smaller birds, fish, crayfish, and invertebrates.

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Occurrence

 
 

Uncommon year-round resident

 
         
 

Maps

 
 

The Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union All Seasons Species Occurrence Map

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Class Aves (birds)  
 

Order

Strigiformes (owls)  
 

Family

Strigidae (typical owls)  
 

Subfamily

Striginae  
 

Genus

Strix  
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

Florida Barred Owl (Strix varia georgica)

Mexican Barred Owl (Strix varia sartorii)

Northern Barred Owl (Strix varia varia)

Texas Barred Owl (Strix varia helveola)

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

 

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Visitor Photos
 
           
 

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DBarnes

 
    Barred Owl   Barred Owl  
 

Ramona Abrego

 
 

Captive bird - Wildlife Science Center

 
    Barred Owl   Barred Owl  
           
    Barred Owl   Barred Owl  
           
    Barred Owl      
 

Margot Avey

 
    Barred Owl      
 

Norm & Peg Dibble

 
  Norm took this photo of a beautiful owl looking down at us. We are not sure of what owl it is. This was taken on our lake home property on Nisswa Lake, Nisswa, MN, May 2006.   Barred Owl  
 

Greg B.

 
 

Northern Barred Owl (Strix varia varia)

 
    Barred Owl      
 

Kirk Nelson

 
  Came across some juvenile barred owls just across the road from the fishing pier on Snelling Lake. A couple of them seemed to be trying to catch bugs or something in the dirt.   Barred Owl  
           
    Barred Owl   Barred Owl  
 

Tom Baker

 
    Barred Owl   Barred Owl  
           
    Barred Owl   Barred Owl  
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
    Barred Owl   Barred Owl  
           
    Barred Owl   Barred Owl  
           
    Barred Owl      
           

 

Camera

 

     
 
Slideshows
 

Barred Owl
Allen Chartier

  Barred Owl  

Barred Owl
JMC Nature Photos

  Barred Owl  
     

 

slideshow

       
 
Visitor Videos
 
       
 

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Other Videos
 
  Barred Owl, Strix Varia
Gregory G. Martz
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Nov 2, 2009

Barred Owl, Hoot Owl, Wood Owl,
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Strigidae
Genus: Strix
Species: S. varia
Strix varia, Symium varium
Hanging out at Gigsplace, looking for mice,HD canon camcorder

 
  Barred Owl (Strix varia)
tomb0171
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Mar 16, 2010

Barred Owl (Strix varia)
* Family: Strigidae,
* Genus: Strix,
* Species: S. varia,
* Type: Bird,
* Diet: Carnivore,
* Average lifespan in the wild: 10-13 years,
* Size: 44 cm long with a 112 cm wingspan,
* Weight: 1-1.5 lbs. (females slightly larger than males),
* Common Names: hoot owl, rain owl, round-headed owl, swamp owl, wood owl,
* Habitat: Barred owls prefer mature forests and heavily wooded swamps. They roost in densely forested areas, and hunt over farmland, open country, roadsides and rivers. They are often associated with red-shouldered hawks.

* Video: by "Eleanor Kee Wellman"

** The Barred Owl is a medium-sized gray-brown owl that is streaked with white horizontal barring on the chest and vertical barring on the belly. They are round-headed with a whitish-brown facial disk that has brown trim. There are no feather tufts. The eyes are brown, and the beak is yellow and almost covered by feathers. The dark brown back is spotted with white and the long tail is crossed with six or seven sharply defined bands of pale brown. There is no difference in plumage between the males and the larger females.

More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barred_Owl
or http://www.carolinaraptorcenter.org/barred_owl.php
or http://www.oregonzoo.org/Cards/BirdsOfPrey/barredowl.htm

 
  Barred Owl ( Strix varia ) in snowfall... 2/10/2013...HD
pefawa
 
   
 
About

Published on Feb 10, 2013

This chunky owl has dark eyes, dark barring on it's upper breast, and dark streaking below. It is chiefly nocturnal and its daytime roost is usually well hidden. Easily flushed, it does not generally tolerate close approach.

It's call is a distinctive rhythmic series of loud hoots..."who-cooks-for-you, who-cooks-for-you all" also a drawn out "hoo-ah,"sometimes preceded by an ascending agitated barking. Much more likely than other owls to be heard in the daytime. Often a chorus of two or more owls will call back and forth.

 
       

 

Camcorder

 
 
Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

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Be sure to include a location.
 
 

DBarnes
2/18/2021

Location: White Bear, Lake MN

Barred Owl

 
  Ramona Abrego

Location: Forest Lake

Captive bird - Wildlife Science Center

Barred Owl

 
  Margot Avey
Late Fall 2019

Location: Westwood Hills Nature Center

Barred Owl

 
  Laura & Elena Corts/Adam Raybin
3/31/2019

Location: Burnsville, MN

Have been hearing owl for years in our backyard. Hoping it nests!

  Derek Knott
3/9/2018

Location: Prior Lake, MN

Has been in Giant willow tree three nights in a row.  100 yards from lake very rodent populated area, squirrels and rabbits and now we don’t have many stray cats around Smiling Face With Smiling Eyes on Facebook 2.2

Am going to try and get some photos tonight.

  Amy T
4/22/2017

Location: Near Mankato, MN on Lake Washington (Bakers Bay)

We heard an owl sitting somewhere very close in a tree while we were having a bon fire tonight. We searched owl calls and the Barred Owl matched. We heard it in the distance as it flew to different locations as well. Very cool.

  Kayzee
4/11/2017

Location: 7 miles South of Grand Rapids MN

nesting in an Oak tree near our house

Last year an owlet fell from the nest on a hot summer day…
we didn't know what it was…created a shelter for it to be out of the
sun and brought it some water…didn’t touch it…  Mother owl tried to help it…
but it didn’t make it…

Hope that doesn’t happen again…but good to know the owls are still around…

  Greg B.
3/7/2009

 

Barred Owl

 
  Kirk Nelson
7/8/2015

Location: Fort Snelling State Park

Came across some juvenile barred owls just across the road from the fishing pier on Snelling Lake. A couple of them seemed to be trying to catch bugs or something in the dirt.

Barred Owl

 
  Tom Baker
2/11/2012

Location: Edenbrook Conservation Area

Barred Owl

 
  Tom Baker
2/4/2012

Location: Edenbrook Conservation Area

Barred Owl

 
  Tom Baker
1/28/2012

Location: Edenbrook Conservation Area

Barred Owl

 
  Norm & Peg Dibble
May 2006

Location: This was taken on our lake home property on Nisswa Lake, Nisswa, MN, May 2006

Norm took this photo of a beautiful owl looking down at us. We are not sure of what owl it is.

Barred Owl

 
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
 
   

 

 

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Created 10/4/2012

Last Updated:

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