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Directory of  C. American Owls Directory of N. American Owls

Barred Owl
A Reference for North and Central American Owls

 The Barred Owl's range is expanding west, now all the way to the north-west coast of North America, where it is slowly displacing its slightly smaller cousin, the Spotted Owl. Here you will find photos, recordings and a brief field notes section to help identify and enjoy this beautiful owl. A more in depth write up and range map can be found in its natural history page (the Biology link). To jump immediately to any of these sections use the Page Jump Links below.

Page Jump Links:
Photo Gallery
Additional Photos
Audio Recordings
Field Notes
Biology

 

PHOTO GALLERY
Click on the thumbnail to bring up each of the Owl photos.

Barred Owl Photo

122K

Barred Owl Photo

108K

Barred Owl Photo

78K

North Coast Redwoods
California
April 2000

Newport
Oregon
August 2002
North Coast Redwoods
California
April 2000

Barred Owl Photo

92K

Barred Owl Photo

75K

Barred Owl Photo

108K
Newport
Oregon
August 2002
British Columbia
Canada
April 2003
Newport
Oregon
August 2002

Additional Photos

Photo 1
71K

Photo 2
233K

Photo 3
95K

Photo 4
99K

Photo 5
186K

Photo 6
61K

Photo 7
80K

Photo 8
64K
Photo 9
105K

RECORDINGS
Click on the sonograms to bring up each of the recordings.

Sound File
43K
North Coast Redwoods 
California
April 2000

Sound File
48K
North Coast Redwoods 
California
April 2000

Sound File
30K
North Coast Redwoods 
California
April 2000

This is the territorial call (male). Both male and female give this call. The female's voice is a higher pitch. Male and female territorial calls. This set begins with the lower pitch male call and then is joined by the higher pitch female. This set is both a male and female calling. The beginning of the set is dominated by a female's territorial challenge call.

FIELD NOTES
Barred Owl - Strix varia

 The Barred Owl is similar in appearance only to the Spotted Owl and is unlikely to be confused with any other owl. There are some distinct differences that make these two owls distinguishable though. The most visual distinction is that the Barred Owl has brown vertical streaks on its underside where the Spotted Owl has short brown horizontal bars (and spots on its crown). The Barred Owl also has a distinctive sharp break between its vertical chest and flank streaks and lateral throat barring.  It is also a lighter brown color overall and slightly larger (if they happen to be sitting next to each other this is quite noticeable!). Both owls do have bold calls in the forests but they are different. The primary territorial location or advertisement call for the Barred Owl is often described as "Who cooks for you; Who cooks for you all?" or "You cook today; I cook tomorrow" (most noticeable  is tone and pattern since the two owls have many variations). The eyes of both (Spotted and Barred) owls are dark brown to black, the bills are horn to yellowish in color and they lack ear tufts. The sexes are alike in appearance although males and females can be distinguished by call. The length of the Barred Owl is 21" (slightly shorter in length than a Red-tailed Hawk).

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