It is the only typical owl of the eastern United States which has brown eyes; all others have yellow eyes. The head is round and lacks ear tufts, a distinction from the Short-eared Owl. The upper parts are mottled gray-brown. The underparts are light with markings; the chest is barred horizontally while the belly is streaked lengthwise. The legs and feet are covered in feathers up to the talons
Canada, the eastern United States and south to Central America; in recent years it has spread to the western United States
Breeding habitat is dense woods. Recent studies show suburban neighbourhoods can also be ideal habitat.
Barred owl is a generalist predator. The principal prey of this owl are meadow voles, followed by mice and shrews of various species; other mammals preyed upon include rats, squirrels, rabbits, bats and moles.
In the United States, eggs are laid from early-January in southern Florida to mid-April in northern Maine, and consist of 2 to 4 eggs per clutch.
The usual call is a series of eight accented hoots ending in oo-aw, with a downward pitch at the end.