Adaptions – Hunting

The barn owl has evolved special adaptions so that when hunting:
  • It’s wings are silent as it flies along and it’s specialised ears pick up the sound of prey moving about below.
  • It uses it’s strong wings to slow down and may for a moment hover whilst it’s powerful eyes are fixed upon the unsuspecting prey.
  • To lose height quickly the owl tucks its wings upwards and plunges towards its prey and then brings its powerful talons forwards ready to close on it’s victim
  • As the owl is about to grab its prey it closes its eyes and relies solely on its hearing.
  • It grabs its prey with a force which will probably kill it immediately.
  • If the owl has only a short distance to fly it will carry its prey in its beak otherwise it will more often carry its prey in its talons until it arrives at it’s resting spot or nest site.
  • If the prey is large or there are small owlets to feed it will use it’s strong hooked beak to tear the prey into smaller pieces, otherwise it will swallow it whole.