Tyto alba - British Wildlife Centre, England
Western Barn Owl (Tyto alba)
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Strigiformes
Family Tytonidae
Genus Tyto

Tyto or barn-owls, true barn owls, grass owls and masked owls, is a genus of barn-owls collectively making up the subfamily Tytoninae. They are darker on the back than the front, usually an orange-brown color, the front being a paler version of the back or mottled, although there is considerable variation even amongst species. Tyto owls have a divided, heart-shaped facial disc, and lack the ear-like tufts of feathers found in many other owls. Tyto owls tend to be larger than Bay-owls. The name tyto (τυτώ) is onomatopeic Greek for owl.

Throughout their evolutionary history, Tyto owls have shown a better capability to colonize islands than other owls. Several such island forms have become extinct, some long ago, but some in comparatively recent times. A number of insular barn-owls from the Mediterranean and the Caribbean were very large or truly gigantic species.


Living and recently extinct species - and some notable subspecies - of barn-owls are:

Western Barn Owl (Scopoli, 1769) (Tyto alba)
Seram Masked Owl (Jønsson et al., 2013) (Tyto almae)
Golden Masked Owl (Salvadori, 1881) (Tyto aurantia)
African Grass Owl (Smith, 1834) (Tyto capensis)
Andaman Masked Owl (Hume, 1875) (Tyto deroepstorffi)
American Barn Owl (Temminck, 1827) (Tyto furcata)
Ashy-faced Owl (Kaup, 1852) (Tyto glaucops)
Minahassa Masked Owl (Schlegel, 1879) (Tyto inexspectata)
Eastern Barn Owl (Gmelin, 1788) (Tyto javanica)
Eastern Grass Owl (Jerdon, 1839) (Tyto longimembris)
Manus Masked Owl (Rothschild & Hartert, 1914) (Tyto manusi)
Lesser Sooty Owl (Mathews, 1912) (Tyto multipunctata)
Taliabu Masked Owl (Neumann, 1939) (Tyto nigrobrunnea)
Australian Masked Owl (Stephens, 1826) (Tyto novaehollandiae)
Sulawesi Masked Owl (Schlegel, 1866) (Tyto rosenbergii)
Moluccan Masked Owl (Sclater, 1883) (Tyto sororcula)
Red Owl  (Grandidier, 1878) (Tyto soumagnei)
Greater Sooty Owl (Gould, 1845) (Tyto tenebricosa)
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