Barn Owl, Fauna in Co. Mayo

The Barn Owl is one of the three resident species of owl in Ireland and probably is the most distinctive.

It is a pale, long winged, long legged owl with a short tail.

It has a round head and a heart-shaped bright white face, black eyes, ear-tufts in asymmetrical position allowing it to locate the source of sounds when hunting. The bill has a ridge of feathers that makes it similar to a nose.

Its overall is darker on the back than the front, usually an orange-brown colour.

Its white form can be seen flitting along the hedgerows and ditches at twilight searching for prey (small vertebrates and rodents).

It uses hollow trees, old barns, ruins or outbuildings as nesting sites and breeds from late March until early April.

The scientific name is Tyto alba, in Irish it is called Scrèachòg.