Tyto alba   Western Barn Owl  Nonnetjie-uil
Western Barn Owl
24 Rivers Farm, May 2018

A breeding resident. Scarce but widespread (recorded in 32% of the Waterberg pentads), occurring mostly in the agricultural areas. Lives solitarily or in pairs, roosting during the day in old barns, in Hamerkop nests, in holes in cliffs and donga walls, or in large cavities in trees. Strictly nocturnal, its presence is mostly given away by its screeching call. Breeds at the end of summer.
Western Barn Owl Waterberg distribution
Barn Owl barn
24 Rivers Farm, May 2018

Not called Barn Owl for nothing, these birds are drawn like magnets to disused old barns like this one on Twenty Four Rivers Farm. If a nest box is placed against an inside wall of such a barn the birds will breed in it year after year and provide the landowner with a free rodent-catching service. An analysis of the prey remains in pellets collected in this barn yielded 440 prey items of which 85% were rodents (246 items) and shrews (126 items). Here, musk shrews and climbing mice were the most frequently taken species, but this varies according to site.

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