Tyto alba 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Strigiformes Tytonidae

Scientific Name: Tyto alba (Scopoli, 1769)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Common Barn-owl
French Chouette effraie
Taxonomic Source(s): Cramp, S. and Simmons, K.E.L. (eds). 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ashpole, J, Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J.
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Countries occurrence:
Albania; Algeria; American Samoa; Andorra; Angola; Antigua and Barbuda; Argentina; Australia; Austria; Bahamas; Bahrain; Bangladesh; Barbados; Belarus; Belgium; Belize; Benin; Bermuda; Bolivia, Plurinational States of; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Botswana; Brazil; Bulgaria; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cambodia; Cameroon; Canada; Cape Verde; Cayman Islands; Central African Republic; Chad; Chile; China; Colombia; Comoros; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Costa Rica; Côte d'Ivoire; Croatia; Cuba; Curaçao; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; Egypt; El Salvador; Equatorial Guinea; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Falkland Islands (Malvinas); Fiji; France; French Guiana; Gabon; Gambia; Georgia; Germany; Ghana; Gibraltar; Greece; Guadeloupe; Guatemala; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Guyana; Honduras; Hungary; India; Indonesia; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Ireland; Israel; Italy; Jamaica; Jordan; Kenya; Kuwait; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Latvia; Lebanon; Lesotho; Liberia; Libya; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Madagascar; Malawi; Malaysia; Mali; Malta; Martinique; Mauritania; Mayotte; Mexico; Moldova; Monaco; Montenegro; Montserrat; Morocco; Mozambique; Myanmar; Namibia; Nepal; Netherlands; Nicaragua; Niger; Nigeria; Niue; Oman; Pakistan; Palestinian Territory, Occupied; Panama; Papua New Guinea; Paraguay; Peru; Poland; Portugal; Puerto Rico; Qatar; Romania; Russian Federation (European Russia); Rwanda; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Samoa; San Marino; Sao Tomé and Principe; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Serbia; Sierra Leone; Singapore; Slovakia; Slovenia; Solomon Islands; Somalia; South Africa; South Sudan; Spain; Sri Lanka; Sudan; Suriname; Swaziland; Sweden; Switzerland; Syrian Arab Republic; Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; Timor-Leste; Togo; Tonga; Trinidad and Tobago; Tunisia; Turkey; Turks and Caicos Islands; Uganda; Ukraine; United Arab Emirates; United Kingdom; United States; United States Minor Outlying Islands; Uruguay; Vanuatu; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of; Viet Nam; Wallis and Futuna; Western Sahara; Yemen; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Estonia; Finland; New Zealand; Norway; Svalbard and Jan Mayen
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:330000000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Upper elevation limit (metres):4000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The European population is estimated at 111,000-230,000 pairs, which equates to 222,000-460,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms approximately 5% of the global range so a very preliminary estimate of the global population is 4,400,000-9,200,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed. The population is therefore placed in the band 4,000,000-9,999,999 mature individuals.

Trend Justification:  This species has had stable population trends over the last 40 years in North America (data from Breeding Bird Survey and/or Christmas Bird Count: Butcher and Niven 2007). Note, however, that these surveys cover less than 50% of the species's range in North America. The European population trend is estimated to be fluctuating (BirdLife International 2015).
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:4000000-9999999Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species is found in a great variety of habitats. It mainly occurs in open but not treeless, lowlands, with some trees, including farmland with hedges, ditches, ponds and banks, roadside verges and related rougher terrain, and young conifer plantations, it is also around towns, suburbs, villages or more isolated buildings suitable for daytime roosts and nest-sites and sometimes near refuse dumps. In lower latitudes it is also found in semi-arid and some arid regions with xerophytic vegetation, dwarf shrub and herb communities, deciduous or mixed eucalypt woodland, Acacia savanna, thornbush, heathland, open marshes, mudflats, oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) plantations, irrigation areas, rice paddies and cane fields, and cliffs and rocky coasts in some regions, notably on continental offshore islands. Some island races are found in forest and on small tropical islands the species is found in all available habitats (Bruce et al. 2014). The species is mostly sedentary, with post-breeding dispersal of juveniles (Bruce et al. 2014).
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):6.2
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Within the species's northern range, the causes of decline include loss and fragmentation of grassland foraging habitat, intensification of agricultural practices, urbanization, and road development which is also linked to road mortalities. It also suffers from severe winters. Increased mechanization of farmland in its northern range has meant the loss of important foraging sites, such as stockyards and stables, and the loss of abandoned farm buildings suitable for nest-sites. Organochlorine pesticides in the 1950s and 1960s and rodenticides in the 1970s and 1980s had disastrous effects on many owl populations in Europe, particularly north-west Europe, parts of North America and north-east Australia (Bruce et al. 2014).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

Conservation Actions Underway

Nest boxes are used as part of local conservation efforts in Europe. Conservation measures have also included protection and re-establishment of rough-grassland habitat mosaics, providing prey-rich foraging areas, and controls over use of second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides. Reintroduction schemes in some areas have had mixed success, as well as conflicting with wild populations (Bruce et al. 2014).

Conservation Actions Proposed

Work should continue on the protection and re-establishment of rough grasslands, particularly alongside watercourses, field margins and woodland edge in order to help reduce habitat fragmentation and provide a network of prey-rich foraging grounds. The provision of nest boxes around these habitats is also important. The use of rodenticides should be controlled. Reintroduction projects need to be implemented with care and awareness of the potential dangers of introducing poor and incorrect genetic stock (Tucker and Heath 1994).

Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Tyto alba. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22688504A86854321. . Downloaded on 25 September 2018.
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