Barn Owl

COSEWIC Threatened
BC Status Blue
Scientific Name
Tyto alba
Taxonomic Group
Breeding Birds
Disturbed area
Barn Owl (c) George W. Robinson / California Academy of Sciences

Species Summary

Light colour and a heart-shaped face distinguish this owl. It has an extraordinarily broad distribution being found from southern Canada to southern South America, on the larger Caribbean Islands, the British Isles to southern Russia and south through Eurasia to Southern Africa and Australia. In British Columbia, it is limited to southeast Vancouver Island, the Fraser Valley and the Okanagan Valley. Barn owls appear to have expanded into this range during the past century (first record 1909) with the spread of agriculture. They prey on small rodents, usually in pastures, and nest in cavities in trees, buildings or cliffs. The major threat is habitat loss to urbanization. Pesticides (especially rodent poison) can cause death or reproductive problems. 


COSEWIC Threatened
BC Status Blue
BC Wildlife Act None
BC Forest and Range Practices Act None
SARA Schedule 1

Additional Information

Conservation Data Centre of BC
Field Guide Please see the factsheet

Regional Districts

Not a range map

The entire area of all regional districts in which the species occurs somewhere is shaded. The actual species range may be much smaller.

  1. Strathcona Regional District - Vancouver Island
  2. Okanagan-Similkameen Regional District
  3. North Okanagan Regional District
  4. Nanaimo Regional District
  5. Metro Vancouver Regional District
  6. Fraser Valley Regional District
  7. Cowichan Valley Regional District
  8. Columbia-Shuswap Regional District
  9. Capital Regional District
  10. Comox Valley Regional District

Forest Districts

  1. Okanagan Shuswap Forest District (DOS)
  2. Chilliwack Forest District (DCK)
  3. Campbell River Forest District - Vancouver Island (DCR-VI)
  4. South Island Forest District (DSI)

Management Categories

Please note that some recommendations or photographs appearing in this section may not apply to this particular species.
  1. Birds of Prey and Bats
Please cite these pages as: Pearson, Mike and Healey, M.C.2012. Species at Risk and Local Government: a Primer for BC. Stewardship Centre of British Columbia, Courtenay BC.