These are pale, long-winged, long-legged owls, with an effortless wavering flight as they quarter pastures or similar hunting grounds.
There are a number of races differing in underpart colour. For example, T. a. alba of western Europe is almost pure white below, whereas T.a. guttata of central Europe is orange. All races have grey and ochre upperparts.
These are birds of open country such as farmland. They are fairly sedentary and nocturnal or crepuscular.
Barn Owls occur worldwide, on every continent except Antarctica. Sometimes they are called monkey-faced owls because of their appearance. Other common names are church owl, golden owl, rat owl, and stone owl.
Other than human persecution, they have few predators, although large owls such as the European Eagle-Owl and the Great Horned Owl will kill smaller species if the opportunity arises.