The second species of owl in Galapagos is the Barn Owl. This renowned bird is larger than the Short-Eared Owl and is clearly recognised by its distinctive heart-shaped facial disc. This amazing piece of evolution allows sound waves to be focused and channelled towards the owl ears, giving it remarkable hearing.
This majestic owl is almost exclusively active at night. They rely on their hearing “super sense” to locate and capture their prey in the darkness. The Barn Owl diet is mainly rats, mice, small birds and larger insects.
Barn Owls can be seen nesting in holes, lava tubes and other volcanic formations throughout the year. Suitable nesting sites are found in the arid and transitional zones of the islands. Barn owls mate for life, and on average the owls lay a clutch of three eggs which they then incubate for around 30 days.
Numbers of these elegant birds are currently unknown, but due to habitat loss and invasive species such as cats and goats these owls are under pressure. To help with conservation, the Barn Owls are being monitored by scientists on all the major islands including Santa Cruz, San Cristobal, Isabela and Floreana.
Your Galapatours naturalist guide will help you to spot Barn Owls when they are active in the evenings. Our Galapagos cruises have a wide range of itineraries, and if you would like the best chance to encounter Barn Owls then contact one of our Galapagos travel advisers today. They will be able to recommend the best itineraries for you.
Fast Facts about the Galapagos Barn Owl
- Their scientific name 'Alba' refers to the birds off-white feather color
- These owls are widely distributed, but their numbers are not great
- Only ever seen at night, when they hunt using their exceptional hearing
- Currently being monitored closely by the National Park as their population is under threat