Barn Owl – movements

Tyto alba – TYLLUAN WEN – Breeding resident.

Breeding adult barn owls in Britain are largely sedentary. Young barn owls do not disperse very far, with a median dispersal distance of 12 km from the nest, while only about 4% of movements are over 100km. In mainland Europe, dispersal distances are greater, often more than 50km with over 10% going more than 100km. Most recoveries in Wales have been less than 20km from their ringing site, but there are some exceptions.

2007 – A bird ringed at a nest at Glenurquhart, Highland, in June 2007 was hit by a car 624km away at St Ishmael’s that December.

2021 – At the end of October, Richard Crossen found a dead barn owl at Castlemartin Corse.  It had been ringed as a nestling in June 2021 at a site in the Towi valley, and so had moved 70km to coastal west

2021 – On November 7th, Andy Jones found the fresh remains of another barn owl on a farm just east of Lamphey.  There wasn’t much of the bird left – only the legs – suggesting it had been predated.  This one had been ringed as a nestling by the Mid-Wales Ringing Group at a site south-east of Machynlleth, 125km away!


PRITCHARD R, HUGHES J, SPENCE I M, HAYCOCK, B, BRENCHLEY A (Eds) 2020. The Birds of Wales.  Liverpool University Press

More about the Barn Owl in Pembrokeshire