Black ink sketch with watercolour on Amedeo 200gsm
Barn owls (Tyto alba) occupy a vast range of habitats from rural to urban. They are generally found at low elevations in open habitats, such as grasslands, deserts, marshes and agricultural fields. They require cavities for nesting, such as hollow trees, cavities in cliffs and riverbanks, nest boxes, caves, church steeples, barn lofts, and hay stacks. The availability of appropriate nesting cavities often limits use of suitable foraging habitat.
Barn owls are found throughout Africa and on every continent except Antarctica. The have also been introduced to some oceanic islands to control rodent pests.
Barn owls are most commonly monogamous, although several reports of polygyny exist. Pairs typically remain together as long as both individuals live.
Courtship begins with display flights by males which are accompanied by advertising calls and chasing the female. During the chase, both the male and the female screech. The male will also hover with feet dangling in front of the perched female for several seconds; these are known as moth flights.
Copulation occurs every few minutes during the nest site search. Both sexes crouch down in front of each other to solicit copulation. The male mounts the female, grasps her neck, and balances with spread wings. Copulation continues with decreasing frequency throughout incubation and chick rearing.
Infor from Animal Diversity Web