Barn Owls in India

Barn Owls in IndiaConservation Status:

  • IUCN: Listed as ‘least concern’ under IUCN red list
  • Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Schedule 3

Distribution:
The barn owl prefers open habitats such as agricultural fields, pastures, and marshland. They generally avoid mountainous areas and woodlands.

Characteristics of Barn owls

  • Barn owls are one of the most commonly found owls in the Indian Subcontinent.
  • These owls are medium-sized with long legs and wings. They have a shorter tail, compared to other similar-sized owls.
  • Barn Owl exhibits dark eyes and a distinct heart-shaped facial disc. Whereas owls generally have one of the most amazing colorful eyes compared to other birds.
  • It is a general belief that the bigger the bird, the more sound it makes while flapping its wings. However, barn owls have unique wings and feather features, that help them fly soundlessly.

Significance

  • The Barn Owls mostly hunt small mammals especially rodents (hence it’s called a farmer’s friend).
  • In Indian mythology, they are the vahanas (vehicles) of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth.
  • Some consider an owl sighting during the festival of Diwali extremely lucky.
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