Like the osprey, the barn owl (Tyto alba) is found on all continents except Antarctica. It prefers to live near grassy fields and meadows, where it hunts mice, bats and even skunks. Its white face is framed by a heart-shaped facial disk, and its tawny body is flecked with small black-and-white spots. The barn owl doesn't make the expected "hoot" sound, instead producing a high-pitched scream that sounds like a screeching cat.
Tracking Bird Flight
German scientists are using an eight-camera device to record the flight movements and changing wing shape of Happy, one of a pair of barn owls at RTWH Aachen University being studied.
Northern hawk owl
A Northern hawk owl (Surnia ulula) in Manitoba, Canada. The owl gets its name from its relatively flat head, long tail, hawklike flight pattern and its daytime hunting, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Great gray owl
The great gray owl's head never turns away from the scurrying rodent under the snow, according to photographer Ann Cook.
At this stage, the prey is firmly gripped in the powerful talons of this great gray owl.
Sexy big spots
The most widely spread of any owl species, barn owls are found on every continent except Antarctica. They are solitary, or found in pairs. It turns out, female barn owls with larger spots up their sexy quotient, and have greater success in mating, according to a study published in 2010 in the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society.
Boreal owls, like this one shown in Manitoba, Canada, often sit on perches, listening for any scurrying rodents below. Then they dive down to capture a meaty meal.
A baby barred owl usually fledges at about 45 days old. Once mature, barred owls can weigh up to 1.5 pounds (680 grams) with wingspans of 50 inches (130 centimeters).
Harry Potter owl
Snowy owls, like Harry Potter's Hedwig, have wingspans of about 5 feet and they are known to swallow prey, such as lemmings, whole.
Live Science newsletter
Stay up to date on the latest science news by signing up for our Essentials newsletter.