Barred Owl


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Scientific Name:

  • Strix varia. Latin meaning “varied earless owl.”


  • Highly distributed. Found throughout Southwestern Canada to parts of Northern United States. Mostly Eastern United States with some populations in Mexico.
  • Non-migratory. Barred Owls will usually stay in one area their entire lives. During winter months may journey further in search of food if scare in their home territory.


  • Live in densely forested areas, usually near a source of water like a streamside or swamp.
  • Nests in tree cavities.


  • Small animals like squirrels, birds, chipmunks, rabbits, mice, voles, amphibians, reptiles, fish, and crayfish.


  • Ambush predators. Also called sit-and-wait predators. They hunt by sitting elevated on a perch and wait for a prey item to wander close enough to swoop down and grab.
  • They will also actively fish in shallow water.
  • Mostly hunt right after sunset or dark, but may also be found hunting during the day.


  • Large sized, mottled brown and white owl with distinct dark brown vertical striping or barring on belly feathers. Barring around the upper chest and around the neck is horizontal.
  • Wing and tail feathers are barred brown and white.
  • Call sounds like “who cooks for you, who cooks for you all?”
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