How Long Do Barn Owls Live? (The Unexpected Answer)

Have you ever seen a barn owl in the wild? These majestic creatures are known for their distinctive appearances and captivating calls.

But how long does a barn owl live? You may be surprised to learn the answer! In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the lifespan of a barn owl and explore some of the factors that can affect their longevity.

Read on to discover the unexpected answer to this intriguing question.

How Long Do Barn Owls Live?

Barn owls are among the oldest bird species, with fossil records dating back to the Early Pleistocene era.

On average, they have a lifespan of 4 to 5 years in the wild, while they can live up to 10 years in captivity.

In the wild, barn owls are vulnerable to predators such as birds of prey, as well as diseases, parasites, and harsh weather conditions.

These, in addition to their small size, make them easy targets for larger predators and lead to a high mortality rate.

When kept in captivity, barn owls are provided with a safe and secure environment that is free of predators and extreme weather.

This, along with regular veterinary care, can help extend their lifespan to up to 10 years.

To give a barn owl the best chance at a long life, they should be kept in an enclosure that is large enough for them to move around freely and is well-ventilated.

They should also be given a variety of foods, including live prey and fruits, and receive regular veterinary care to monitor their health.

Overall, barn owls have a life expectancy of between 4 and 5 years in the wild and up to 10 years in captivity.

To ensure their long and healthy life, they should be provided with a safe and secure environment, a variety of foods, and regular veterinary care.

How Long Does A Barn Owl Live In Captivity?

The average lifespan of a Barn Owl in captivity is around 10 to 15 years – significantly longer than the average lifespan of a Barn Owl in the wild, which is only about two to five years.

This is due to the fact that Barn Owls in captivity are provided with regular meals, a clean and safe environment, and veterinary care, if needed.

They are also generally not exposed to the same dangers as their wild counterparts, such as predators, disease, and harsh weather conditions.

In some cases, a Barn Owl in captivity may even exceed the average lifespan of 15 years.

For example, a Barn Owl at the Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute in Washington, D.


was documented to have lived for over 20 years.

For those wishing to provide a home to a Barn Owl, it is important to remember that proper husbandry and care can greatly extend their lifespan.

This includes providing a spacious, well-ventilated enclosure; a nutritious diet; and regular veterinary care.

It is also essential to ensure that the bird is provided with ample opportunities for exercise, mental stimulation, and socialization.

What Was The Longest Living Barn Owl?

Wisdom, the longest living Barn Owl ever recorded, was born in 1956 on the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in the Pacific Ocean.

Banded at the age of five, he was re-sighted in 2002, making him the oldest known wild bird at the time.

At his death in 2016, Wisdom was estimated to be at least 46 years old – more than twice the lifespan of most other birds in his species.

During his lifetime, he successfully raised at least 36 chicks.

Wisdom’s remarkable story earned him many accolades.

He was featured in news articles and television shows and awarded the longest-living bird record by the Guinness Book of World Records.

He was a symbol of survival, having endured the destruction of his habitat, various predators, and competition for food.

Wisdom’s legacy is that it is possible to defy the odds and live a long and successful life.

With determination, resilience, and a bit of luck, we can all strive to live our best lives.

He will forever be an inspiration to us all.

What Is The Lifespan Of An Owl?

The lifespan of an owl can vary greatly depending on its species.

Generally, smaller species tend to have shorter lifespans than larger, more robust species.

In the wild, the average lifespan of an owl is between 3 and 10 years, with some species living longer.

Captive owls, however, have a much longer lifespan, with many species living up to 20 years or more.

The longevity of an owl is largely determined by its habitat and diet.

Owls that live in areas with plentiful food sources and protection from predators have a higher chance of living longer.

In captivity, owls that are given specialized diets and medical care live longer and healthier lives.

The oldest known wild owl is a great grey owl (Strix nebulosa) that lived to be 31 years old.

Owls in captivity have been known to live even longer, with the oldest recorded being a great horned owl (Bubo virginianus) that lived to be over 50 years old.

An owl’s activity level is also a factor in its lifespan.

Those that are active and engage in physical activity are more likely to live longer than those that don’t.

In captivity, providing enrichment activities and a stimulating environment will also increase an owl’s lifespan.

In conclusion, the lifespan of an owl can vary significantly depending on its species, habitat, and activity level.

Generally, wild owls live between 3 and 10 years, while owls in captivity can live much longer.

The oldest recorded wild owl was 31 years old, while the oldest recorded owl in captivity was over 50 years old.

Do Barn Owls Mate For Life?

Barn owls do not typically mate for life.

Instead, they typically form monogamous pairs during the breeding season, which lasts from late winter to early autumn.

After the breeding season ends, the pair will often go their separate ways.

However, there have been some instances of barn owls forming monogamous pairs that last beyond the season.

This can be between two birds who have been together for multiple years, birds related to one another, or birds who have successfully raised a brood of owlets and wish to remain together to raise more.

Ultimately, the behavior of barn owls is highly unpredictable and dependent on the individual bird’s situation.

As a result, it is not possible to say with certainty whether barn owls mate for life or not.

Do Barn Owls Like Being Pet?

No, Barn Owls do not typically like being petted.

While some bird species, including some owls, may enjoy being petted, most Barn Owls are not particularly fond of it.

This is because they are wild birds and have evolved to be naturally wary of humans and other animals.

When they feel threatened or uncomfortable, their strong flight instinct is triggered.

Petting a Barn Owl is usually seen as a sign of aggression or danger, and so it will usually cause the owl to become agitated and defensive.

Furthermore, Barn Owls have delicate feathers and sensitive skin.

Petting them can cause harm and distress, as their feathers can be easily damaged and their skin can become irritated.

Therefore, it is best to observe them from a distance and leave them be.

In the wild, Barn Owls are known to be quite social and interactive with one another.

This behavior is often seen as affectionate and endearing, but it does not necessarily mean that they enjoy being petted.

In fact, their social behaviors are simply instinctive and part of their natural survival strategy.

When it comes to Barn Owls, it is important to remember that they are wild animals and should not be treated like domesticated pets.

While they may be fascinating to watch and admire, they should be respected and allowed to live in their natural environment.

Can You Keep A Barn Owl As A Pet?

No, unfortunately you cannot keep a barn owl as a pet.

Barn owls are wild birds and are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which prohibits their capture, possession, and sale.

Keeping a barn owl as a pet is not only illegal, but can be detrimental to the health of the animal.

Domestication of wild animals is a difficult and lengthy process that isn’t suitable for barn owls.

Additionally, they have specialized diets and require specific habitats that are difficult to replicate in captivity.

Barn owls also have very strict nesting requirements which cannot be met in captivity.

If you are looking for a pet bird, there are many species of owls that can be kept in captivity.

These owls, such as the Eurasian Eagle Owl, require specialized care but can make wonderful and rewarding pets.

Overall, it’s important to remember that wild animals, including barn owls, are not designed to be kept in captivity.

What Helps A Barn Owl Survive?

Barn owls need a lot of resources to survive in the wild.

They must have access to a reliable food source, such as small rodents like mice, voles, and shrews.

For shelter, they rely on dense trees, caves, or even barns.

They also need open areas for hunting, such as grasslands, marshes, or agricultural fields.

To protect them from predators and other dangers, they need a healthy environment with minimal human disturbance.

Clean water sources, such as streams, rivers, and wetlands, are also essential.

Finally, they need plenty of nesting sites, such as trees, cliffs, and buildings.

All of these elements are necessary for the barn owl to thrive and survive in the wild.

Do Owls Make Good Pets?

Owls are not suitable for pet ownership.

It is illegal to keep these wild animals in captivity, and their diet, housing, and behaviour requirements are difficult to meet.

Not to mention, owls have sharp talons and powerful beaks that can cause serious injury to humans.

So, it is best to leave owls in their natural habitat and respect them as wild animals.

What Do Barn Owls Need To Survive?

Barn owls are amazing creatures that continue to captivate people of all ages.

To ensure they survive and thrive, they need to have their specific needs met.

These needs include a safe and secure place to live, such as a barn, to protect them from predators and the elements.

They also need an ample supply of food, like small rodents, frogs, and other small animals, which they hunt in their natural habitat.

Additionally, they require access to clean water and vegetation to stay hydrated and nourished.

In addition to these basic needs, barn owls need sufficient space to fly, as they are incredibly agile birds.

They need to be able to construct nests, which they do with sticks, grasses and other materials found in their natural environment.

Moreover, they need to socialize with other barn owls, as they are sociable animals and need to interact with other birds of the same species to stay healthy and happy.

In conclusion, barn owls need a safe and secure place to live, an ample supply of food, access to clean water and a variety of vegetation, sufficient space to fly, and the ability to socialize with other barn owls in order to survive and thrive.

Can You Keep An Owl As A Pet?

The short answer to whether you can keep an owl as a pet is “No”.

In most countries, it is illegal to keep owls as pets since they are wild animals.

Laws vary by country and species, but generally, it is not legal to keep an owl as a pet.

Owls have a certain allure, with their beauty, intelligence, and mysterious personalities.

But they are wild animals and keeping them in captivity is not only illegal, but it is also cruel.

Owls need a specific diet of live prey, large living spaces, and socialization with other owls – all of which are difficult to provide in captivity.

It is also impossible to give an owl the same level of care and attention as a pet like a dog or a cat.

Moreover, it is vital to consider the safety of both the owl and its human caretaker.

Owls are powerful predators, and their talons can cause serious injury if not handled properly.

Even when tame, it is important to remember that they are wild animals and their behavior can be unpredictable.

Therefore, it is best to admire owls from a distance, rather than attempting to keep them as pets.

To learn more about owls, consider attending lectures, visiting nature centers, or volunteering at wildlife rehabilitation centers.

There are also many organizations devoted to conserving owls and other wildlife.

In conclusion, although it may be tempting to keep an owl as a pet, it is not a responsible or safe thing to do.

Owls are wild animals and should remain in the wild, enjoying their natural habitat.

Final Thoughts

So, how long do barn owls live? On average, barn owls can live up to 10 years, although some may live up to 20 years in ideal conditions.

The age of a barn owl is determined by many factors, including environmental conditions, diet, and even genetics.

Now that you know the answer to this intriguing question, why not take a trip to your local wildlife sanctuary and observe these magnificent birds in their natural habitat? You may even spot one of these majestic creatures and be able to witness first-hand their beauty and grace.


James is a curious and adventurous journalist who loves to research and write about birds. He is highly knowledgeable about bird behavior, anatomy, and conservation, and is passionate about helping protect them.He is also an avid reader, often spending hours reading scientific journals, bird-watching guides, and other literature related to birds.

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