Common Barn-owl Tyto alba
Barn Owl, Caerlaverock, Scotland, February 2001 - click for larger image

Caerlaverock, Scotland
February 2001

From a distance I thought this was a Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) if only because it was 1:30 pm and Short-eared Owls are more likely to hunt during the day than Barn Owls.

Barn Owl, Caerlaverock, Scotland, February 2001 - click for larger image However, it had been bitterly cold the night before as well as being bright with moonlight so the Common Barn-owl had probably had a poor night's hunting and was out for a snack. As well as the distinctive facial disc, the pale underparts and the dark eye, note the length of the wings when seen head on as in the third photo.
Barn Owl, Caerlaverock, Scotland, February 2001 - click for larger image The Common Barn-owl is probably the most widespread owl and is found in all continents apart from Antarctica. There are about 28 subspecies and this is the nominate Tyto alba alba found in western and southern Europe.

It is found in a variety of habitats and, as its name implies, frequently roosts and nests in isolated buildings in villages and towns.

There are illustrations in HBW, Volume 5, Pages 35 to 71.

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