WHO is that out there in the dark? If it's a quiet night in the woods and you hear a tell-tale “hoo hoo" sound, you're probably listening to an owl.
Did you know that there are many different types of owls around the world? Some of our Wonder Friends wanted to know more about silver owls. Have you ever seen a silver owl?
“Silver owl" is actually a nickname for the common barn owl, whose scientific name is Tyto alba. The barn owl can be found almost anywhere, since it is the most widely distributed species of owl. It's also one of the most widespread species of birds, in general. Barn owls can be found all over the world, with the exception of polar and desert areas and a few Pacific islands.
Like many species of owls, Barn owls are nocturnal, which means they're only active at night. Some other species of owls are either diurnal, active during the day, or crepuscular, active during the hours around dawn and dusk.
Their nocturnal nature gave barn owls their scientific name. Barn owls are part of the scientific family Tytonidae, which comes from Greek words meaning “night owl." Most other North American owl species are part of the scientific family Strigidae, which are often known as the “typical owls."
Barn owls tend to be medium-sized owls with long, rounded wings. They have a distinctive flight style that's almost completely silent. This allows them to hunt small rodents as prey at night. They like to nest and roost in old barns and buildings or dense trees. If you have a barn that's free of rodents, you can probably thank a barn owl!
If you see a barn owl at night, it will probably look white or silver, due to its pale coloring. If you listen closely, you may even hear its unique call. Unlike the “hoot" of typical owls, barn owls are known for their eerie, raspy screeches.
All of these unique characteristics have led to many different nicknames being attached to the barn owl over time. In addition to silver owl, you may hear barn owls referred to as white owls, demon owls, ghost owls, death owls, night owls, rat owls, church owls, cave owls, stone owls, monkey-faced owls, hissing owls, and screech owls.