Last Updated on April 24, 2024 by themubbi63

Found all over the world, the barn owl (Tyto alba) is a silent and nocturnal predator. It’s not the largest of owls, being around medium-sized and is lanky in stature with long legs. With a white, rounded face and lacking the tufted ears that are typical to many species of owl, they’re quite distinctive to look at.

These owls don’t hoot, as we’re so used to thinking of owls doing, but let out a haunting raspy call while hunting which is much more eerie. During the day, they hide away in quiet and hidden corners. 

Barn Owl Height

Barn Owl Height
The Surprising Size of the Barn Owl: Magnificent Masters of Impressive Facts! 2024

Of course, there are over 20 subspecies of the barn owl, depending on where in the world they reside. This means that there are variations in size and not all the barn-owls are the same size. 

But generally, an adult barn owl is about 32 to 40 cm (12.6 – 15.8 inches) in length. Within that bracket, the barn owls found on the Galapagos Islands are on the smaller end of the spectrum while the ones that live on the mainland are somewhat larger.

Animal HeightInchesCentimeters
Barn Owl12.6 – 15.832 – 40

Barn Owl Weight

These owls aren’t the heaviest of species, since they still need to be deft and manoeuvrable. Their weight can vary a lot, depending on the subspecies and where they live. In general the owls that live on small islands are smaller and lighter since they mostly need to survive on insects. 

For example, a male barn owl living on the Galapagos Islands is around 260 g (9.2 oz) while the male Pacific barn owls average about 555 g (19.6 oz). The outer limit of the weight of a barn-owl anywhere in the world is 700 g (24.7 oz).

Females are usually slightly larger than males. The average female barn-owl weighs around 550 g (19.4 oz) while males are about 10 percent lighter.

Animal WeightOuncesGrams
Barn Owl9.2 – 24.7260 – 700

Related Article: The Surprising Cassowary Size: Taller Than You Think! 2024

Barn-Owl Wingspan

The wingspan of an owl, again, varies according to subspecies. It can measure anywhere between 80 and 125 cm (31 – 49 inches). The upperwings of the barn owl are usually various shades of brown and grey and are considerably darker than the underparts and the face of the bird. 

These birds have a distinctive pattern of flying, which is in a buoyant looping manner. Their wingbeats tend to be quite slow

Barn Owl Clutch Size

Barn-owls are monogamous by nature and usually have a singular partner throughout their lifetime unless the one in a pair dies. 

Female barn owls make nests with their own regurgitated pellets, shredded with her feet and arranged into a cup-like shape. They can nest in all kinds of places, from barn lofts and church steeples to cliff ledges and burrows in riverbanks. They may use the nest site throughout the year and even come back to it year after year.

A barn-owl can have a clutch of anywhere between 2 and 18 eggs. But the most usual number is 4 to 6 eggs. The dull white eggs are usually 3.9 – 4.4 cm (1.5 – 1.7 inches) long and 3.1 – 3.4 cm (1.2 – 1.3 inches) wide. 

Barn Owl Chick Size

The hatchlings are covered in a greyish-white down. By the end of the first week they can hold up their heads and shuffle around the nest. 

By two weeks, the baby barn owl is usually around 5.5 cm in length and weighs around 167 g. That’s around half its body weight although it still isn’t anywhere near its full height and doesn’t have its adult feathers yet.

They are almost their full size by six weeks but only start leaving the nest at around nine weeks. A barn-owl is only considered independent at the thirteen week mark until which time the mother teaches them to hunt prey.

Barn Owl Size Comparison to Humans

Barn Owl Size Comparison to Humans
The Surprising Size of the Barn Owl: Magnificent Masters of Impressive Facts! 2024

The average height of a barn owl is around 32 to 40 cm while the average height of a human is around 170 cm. This puts the barn-owl at less than one-fourth of the height of a human. The wingspan of a barn owl, on the other hand, measuring about 80 to 125 cm comes closer to the height of a human.

Barn Owl Vs Snowy Owl Size Comparison

Barn Owl Vs Snowy Owl Size Comparison
The Surprising Size of the Barn Owl: Magnificent Masters of Impressive Facts! 2024

Snowy owls are much larger than barn owls, in terms of height, weight and wingspan. They’re considered the largest avian predator of the High Arctic. Measuring around 52 – 71 cm in length to the 32 – 40 cm of the barn owl, there’s no competition. 

The snowy owl easily outstrips the barn-owl in weight, with the smallest specimens measuring twice the amount that the largest barn owls do. The wingspan of the snowy owl is also immense, as needed to carry all that weight. Measuring 116 – 183 cm in comparison to the barn-owls’ wingspan of 80 – 125 cm, the snowy owl is clearly the winner.

Barn-Owl32 – 40 cm (12.6 – 15.8 inches)260 – 700 g (9.2 – 24.7 oz)80 – 125 cm (31 – 49 inches)
Snowy Owl 52 – 71 cm (20.5 – 27.9 inches)1330 – 2950 g (46.9 – 104 oz)116 – 183 cm (46 – 72 inches)

Interesting Article: Shoebill Stork Size: Revealing Towering Heights & Contrasting Comparisons 2024

Barn Owl Vs Burrowing Owl Size Comparison

The burrowing owl, on the other hand, is one of the smallest owls in the world. The burrowing owl measures about 19 – 25 cm in length as compared to the barn owl which measures 32 – 40 cm. Weighing just about 150 g, this miniscule is nowhere near the range of the barn owl which weighs around 550 g on average.

The wingspan of the burrowing owl is accordingly smaller in proportion to its body size. Measuring a total of 55 cm, it’s less than half the wingspan of the average barn owl.

Barn Owl32 – 40 cm (12.6 – 15.8 inches)260 – 700 g (9.2 – 24.7 oz)80 – 125 cm (31 – 49 inches)
Burrowing Owl19 – 25 cm (7.5 – 9.8 inches)150 g (5.3 oz)55 cm (21.6 inches)


The barn owl may not be the biggest owl, but its size plays a crucial role in its success. With a wingspan that rivals a human’s height and a silent flight, it’s a master of the night! From the smaller Galapagos barn-owls to the larger mainland varieties, these fascinating birds amaze with their size variations and unique adaptations. Let’s protect these silent hunters and their vital role in the ecosystem.


How big are barn owl chicks?

Newborn barn-owls are tiny, covered in down. By two weeks, they’re about half their adult size. They reach full size around six weeks but don’t leave the nest until nine weeks old.

Why are barn owls silent in flight?

Their feathers have a special fringe that muffles the sound of their wings. This silent flight allows them to sneak up on prey undetected!

Can I keep a barn-owl as a pet?

Barn-owls are wild predators with specific needs. They require a large space to fly and a steady supply of live prey. Owning one is illegal in most places. It’s best to appreciate them in their natural habitat!

Categorized in: