Order: Strigiformes Family: Tytonidae Status: Breeding in Madeira
A medium-sized owl with big head, long, rounded wings and short tail.
The subspecies schmitzi is endemic to Madeira and its darker colouring is the main distinct feature from its nominate.
Barn Owl has a pale buff upperside with some grey and black spots at the back. It has a heart-shaped facial disc with dark feathers around its black eyes. The underparts are very pale and lack the dark streaking or barring of most other owls.
Barn owl is easy to identify by its strident call which normally does when flying. Its flight is light, agile with quick and deep wingbeats.
Its common habitat is the open country from farmland to marshes with reedbeds though in Madeira Barn Owl is found on most parts of the island, generally not very high in altitude in a variety of habitats, from areas of human settlement, forest, agricultural fielda, and areas with low vegetation to deep valleys.
This is the only nocturnal bird of prey breeding in Madeira archipelago and is found both in Madeira as in Porto Santo though it is scarcer in the latter.
Being the only bird of prey breeding in Madeira it should be easy to ID it though it has some similarities with the vagrant Short-eared Owl which is bigger, darker brown and with yellow eyes.
Wingspan: 33 - 35 cm (Beaman & Madge, 2011)
Total length: 85 - 93 cm (Beaman & Madge, 2011)
Weight: 290 - 460 g (Hume, 2002)
Seasonality in Madeira: All year
Breeding: In Europe it typically nests in barns and other suitable buildings but in Madeira it is usual to choose large holes in cliffs, rocks or trees. It lays 4 to 6 white eggs in a single clutch. The eggs are incubated by the female alone while the male feeds her regularly.
Diet: In Madeira it hunts at night, catching mainly rats, rabbits and road kills.
Madeira local status by Romano et al, 2010: Rare breeding bird
Madeira local status by Zino et al, 1995: Common breeding bird
Conservation status by the IUCN Red List Categories, 2013: Least Concern ver 3.1
Portuguese: Coruja-das-torres, coruja-da-igreja
Spanish: Lechuza común
French: Effraie des clochers de Madère
Polish: Płomykówka zwyczajna
Slovak: Plamienka madeirská
Czech: Sova pálená
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