Barn owl bird is a medium-sized owl with a slim body, long broad wings and long legs, which are often dangled beneath. The heart-shaped facial disc is white, and the eyes are black. The underparts and underwings of barn owl bird are pure white, the upperwing and remainder of the upperparts are marbled pale grey on pale yellow-buff. It has an upright stance when perched. In flight it appears ghostly and can often be seen hunting in a slow and measured fashion, low over the ground, hovering briefly before dropping onto prey.
Barn owl bird has a huge worldwide range, and in Britain is localized but not uncommon. Barn owl bird favours open country with scattered trees, farmland mixed with small woods, hedges, scrub, margins of wetlands and areas with rough grass and herbage cover that provide a ready supply of mice and other prey. As the name suggests, it nests in barns, as well as haystacks, roofs, old buildings, undisturbed outhouses, ruins, cliffs and quarries, often using nest boxes placed within buildings. It also nests in old or dead trees with large cavities.
Barn owl bird has a variety of unique screeching and rasping sounds which can sound eerie and perturbing when heard for the first time. The typical call, given by the female, is a rising and high-pitched rasp "ekhhhhrrrrrr!" or a higher-pitched "iiiiieeeeeee". Another similar call is a "ssschhhhhhhhh", not unlike steam being forced out of a small aperture. The advertising call or song of the male, often given in flight, is a little more rolling, with a liquid gargling quality "iiirrrrrrr"r'r'r'r'r!". Young birds in the nest can be quite noisy, making snoring and vowel-less rasping 'ghosts in the attic'-type noises, such as "hhhkhkhkhkh...".