Barred owl
Strix varia
 
ITIS Species Code:   177921         NatureServ Element Code:   ABNSB12020
 
Taxa: 
Order: 
Family: 
Aves
Str.giformes
Strigidae
NatureServe Global Rank: 
NatureServe State (NC) Rank: 
 
G5
S4
 
Federal Status: 
NC State Status: 
 
---
---
 
 
PARTNERS IN FLIGHT PRIORITY SCORES:
Southern Blue Ridge:  15 Southern Piedmont:  15 South Atl. Coastal Plain:  15
 
HEXAGONAL KNOWN RANGE:PREDICTED DISTRIBUTION:
 
SUMMARY OF STATEWIDE PREDICTED DISTRIBUTION:
 
Land Unit

US Fish & Wildlife Service
US Forest Service
US National Park Service
US Department of Defense
NC State Parks
NC University System
NC Wildlife Res. Com.
NC Forest Service
NC Div. of Coastal Mgmt.
Local Governments
Non-Governmental Org.
Other Public Lands
Private Lands

GAP Status 1-2
All Protected Lands
Statewide
 
Hectares

70,692.39
462,276.72
113,554.62
131,220.18
49,790.43
21,901.50
99,803.34
14,150.91
5,577.39
11,969.37
28,925.28
6,193.71
10,422,721.08

380,514.99
1,010,158.68
11,438,776.92
 
Acres

174,684.67
1,142,310.43
280,599.52
324,252.06
123,034.81
54,119.77
246,619.38
38,519.45
13,782.03
29,576.95
71,475.91
15,304.99
25,755,099.67

943,824.63
2,499,707.77
28,269,379.63
% of Dist. on
Prot. Lands

7.0 %
45.8 %
11.0 %
13.0 %
4.9 %
2.2 %
9.7 %
1.4 %
0.6 %
2.8 %
2.8 %
0.5 %
< 0.1 %

37.7 %
-----   
-----   
% of Dist. on
All Lands

0.6 %
4.0 %
1.0 %
1.1 %
0.4 %
0.2 %
0.9 %
0.1 %
< 0.1 %
0.1 %
0.3 %
< 0.1 %
91.1 %

3.3 %
-----   
-----   
 
HABITAT DESCRIPTION:
Sub-species varia (Johnsgard 1988), or Northern Barred Owl (Eckert and Karalus 1987), occurs throughout the state (Fussell 1994, Potter et al. 1980) except the barrier islands (Fussell and Lyons 1990).

Typically inhabits either upland or lowland, densely forested mature woods that contain nesting cavities and roost trees, with fairly open areas nearby for foraging (Johnsgard 1988) including meadows and marshes (Eckert and Karalus 1987). Also found along lakeshores and especially in cypress swamps (Wolfe and de la Torre 1990). Often near water (Eckert and Karalus 1987). Found throughout the mountains from the spruce-fir zone down to the southern hardwoods (Alsop 1991). On the coast, commonly found in bottomland forests, especially along rivers or large streams. Rare in fragmented woodlots (Fussell 1994), although may use them if the trees are sufficiently large (Eckert and Karalus 1987). Presence of large trees may be key factor in each habitat type (Wolfe and de la Torre 1990).

Roosts near to the trunk of a tree on a large branch (Eckert and Karalus 1987). Nest trees are generally large (at least 50 cm breast-height diameter) (Johnsgard 1988). Generally nests in cavities, but also abandoned nests of squirrels (Ehrlich et al. 1988), corvids and hawks, especially Red-shouldered Hawk, rarely hollow stumps (Wolfe and de la Torre 1990). While hunting, perches on isolated trees overlooking open areas; also hunts by flying through the woods (Eckert and Karalus 1987).

NATURE SERVE GLOBAL HABITAT COMMENTS:

Dense woodland and forest (coniferous or hardwood), swamps, wooded river valleys, cabbage palm-live oak hammocks; often in areas bordering streams, marshes, and meadows (AOU 1983), but also commonly in upland areas; habitat use reflects vegetation characteristics rather than proximity of water per se. Generally in expansive forested area with large mature and decadent trees that provide cavities suitable for security and nesting (Allen 1987). Appears to prefer older stands but uses earlier stages of forest succession if enough large trees or snags (or nest boxes) are present (Allen 1987). Often in forests with relatively open understory. Prefers canopy closure of 60% or greater. Often replaced by the great horned owl in fragmented open forests.

Nests in tree cavity, in abandoned nest of squirrel, crow, or hawk, or in top of hollow tree stub, usually at least 7-8 m above ground. Uses both living and dead trees. Trees with cavity suitable for nesting generally at least 51 cm DBH; habitat suitability index model assumes that a density of at least 2 stems of this diameter per 0.4 ha represents high quality habitat for reproduction; high quality reproductive habitat also indicated by canopy cover of overstory trees of 60% or more (Allen 1987). Nest sites typically used in successive years.

 
MODELING DESCRIPTION:
Occupied Landcover Map Units:
Code NameDescription NC Natural Heritage Program Equivalent
75 Tidal Swamp Forest Swamp tupelo dominated forest with or without black tupelo and/or cypress trees. Restricted to the tidal zones in the coastal plain. May have inclusions of coastal red cedar woodlands. Tidal cypress - gum swamp
121 Maritime Pinelands Loblolly forests and woodlands of the outer coastal plain. Estuarine Fringe Loblolly Pine Forest
17 Maritime Forests and Hammocks Maritime forests and woodlands dominated by live or sand laurel oak. Estuarine Fringe forests dominated by loblolly pine. Coastal Fringe Evergreen Forest, Maritime Deciduous Forest, Maritime Deciduous Forest
173 Coastal Plain Riverbank Shrubs Shrub dominated riverbanks, commonly dominated by willows and/or alders. Sand and Mud Bar
50 Coastal Plain Mixed Bottomland Forests Includes forests dominated by a variety of hardwood species, including sweetgum, cottonwood, red maple. Coastal Plain Bottomland Hardwood (in part), Coastal Plain Levee Forest
49 Coastal Plain Oak Bottomland Forest Bottomland forests dominated by deciduous oak alliances. Oaks represented can include swamp chestnut, cherrybark, willow, and/or overcup oak. Inclusions of loblolly pine temporarily flooded forests occur in patches. Hydrology is temporarily to seasonally flooded. Coastal Plain Bottomland Hardwoods (in part) blackwater subtype, brownwater subtype
158 Coastal Plain Nonriverine Wet Flat Forests Loblolly pine - Atlantic white-cedar - red maple - swamp tupelo saturated forests as well as forests dominated by loblolly, sweetgum, and red maple in non-riverine flats. Non-riverine Wet Hardwood Forest
15 Seepage and Streamhead Swamps Includes extensive peat flats in the coastal plain, dominated by swamp tupelo, maples, and Atlantic white cedar alliances. In the sandhills includes streamhead pond pine and bay forests alliances. Saturated hydrology. Bay Forest, Small Depression Pocosin, Streamhead Atlantic White Cedar Forest, Streamhead Pocosins
30 Cypress-Gum Floodplain Forests Swamps dominated by black or swamp tupelo with or without Taxodium. Seasonally to semi-permanently flooded hydrology. Cypress-Gum Swamps
78 Pond-Cypress - Gum Swamps, Savannas and Lakeshores Cypress dominated swamps and lakeshores. Can include bays dominated by pond cypress or shorelines of coastal plain lakes with a narrow band of cypress. Non-riverine Swamp Forest, Natural Lakeshores (in part)
385 Oak Bottomland Forest and Swamp Forest The swamp chestnut oak, cherrybark oak, shumard oak and sweetgum alliance is one representative. Other alliances are dominated by water, willow, and overcup oaks. Swamp forests can be dominated by sweetgum, red maple, and black gum being dominant. Loblolly can occur in combination with sweetgum and red maple, or with tulip poplar. Includes saturated and semi- to permanently flooded forests in the mountains. Piedmont/Mountain Bottomland Forest, Piedmont/Mountain Swamp Forest
63 Coastal Plain Mesic Hardwood Forests Beech dominated forests with white oak and northern red oak as possible co-dominants. Dry-mesic to mesic forests on slopes and small stream bottoms in the coastal plain. Mesic Mixed Hardwood Forest, Basic Mesic Forests
138 Coastal Plain Dry to Dry-Mesic Oak Forests Oak dominated forests of the coastal plain. Includes white oak forests with water oak or northern red oak and hickories as co-dominants. Dry Mesic Oak Hickory Forest, Basic Oak Hickory Forest, Dry Oak Hickory Forest
67 Wet Longleaf or Slash Pine Savanna Wet flatwoods and pine savannas, typically dominated by longleaf pines, but slash or pond pines may be the dominant pines. Wet Pine Flatwoods
97 Mesic Longleaf Pine Longleaf pine woodlands without a major scrub oak component. Slash or loblolly pines may be present as well. Mesic Pine Flatwoods
42 Xeric Longleaf Pine Sandhills including a range of longleaf pine density from predominantly wiregrass, scrub oak dominated to true longleaf pine woodland. This does not include mesic or saturated flatwood types. Xeric Sandhill Scrub, Pine/Scrub Oak Sandhill, Coastal Fringe Sandhill
46 Xeric Oak - Pine Forests Mixed forest dominated by yellow pines with white or northern red oaks co-dominating. Pine Oak Heath
232 Xeric Pine-Hardwood Woodlands and Forests Mixed forest dominated by yellow pines with drier oaks including southern red, post, and chestnut oaks. Dry Oak Hickory Forest
267 Riverbank Shrublands Riverside shrubs with temporarily flooded hydrologies. Found in the both the Mountains and Piedmont. Containing dominants such as smooth alder and a Carolina or black willows. Sand and Mud Bar
269 Floodplain Wet Shrublands Saturated shrublands of the Piedmont, includes buttonbush, swamp-loosestrife, decodon and alders. Piedmont/mountain Semipermanent Impoundment
230 Piedmont Mesic Forest American Beech - Red Oak - White Oak Forests. Mesic Mixed Hardwood
384 Piedmont/Mountain Mixed Bottomland Hardwood Forests Includes temporarily to seasonally forests dominated by hardwood species. Hardwoods include sweetgum, red maple, sycamore which co-occur in a mosaic of bottomland and levee positions. Includes alluvial hardwood forests in the mountains. Hemlock and white pine may occur as inclusions, but are generally mapped separately. Piedmont/Mountain Alluvial Forest, Piedmont/Mountain Levee Forest
383 Piedmont Mixed Successional Forest Generally loblolly mixed with successional hardwoods. Sweetgum, tulip poplar and red maple are common co-dominants in these successional forests. No equivalent
228 Piedmont Dry-Mesic Oak and Hardwood Forests Primarily oak dominated forests, white oak is often dominant, with co-dominants including . Also represented by sweetgum and tulip poplar dominated forests. Dry Mesic Oak Hickory Forest, Basic Oak Hickory Forest, Dry Oak Hickory Forest
222 Piedmont Dry-Mesic Pine Forests Loblolly dominated forests resulting from succession following clearing. This type occurs on all moisture regimes following disturbance with the exception of the extremely xeric sites. No equivalent
382 Dry Mesic Oak Pine Forests Mixed forests of the coastal plain and piedmont. Includes loblolly pine with white, southern red and/or post oak and loblolly with water oak. On basic sites of the piedmont, eastern red cedar may co-occur with post, black, and blackjack oaks. Dry Mesic Oak Hickory Forest, Xeric Hard Pan Forest, Chestnut Oak Forest, Dry Mesic Oak Hickory Forest, Dry Oak Hickory Forest
220 Piedmont Xeric Pine Forests Dry to xeric pine forests dominated by Virginia pine, shortleaf pine or Eastern Red Cedar. Pine Oak Heath
226 Piedmont Xeric Woodlands Generally post and blackjack oak dominated woodlands. White ash and pignut hickory can be found in combination with Eastern red cedar on glades. Xeric Hardpan Forest
20 Coniferous Regeneration Regenerating pine stands. Predominantly loblolly pine, but slash and longleaf stands occur as well. No equivalent
21 Coniferous Cultivated Plantation (natural / planted) Managed pine plantations, densely planted. Most planted stands are loblolly, but slash and longleaf occur as well. No equivalent
51 Deciduous Cultivated Plantation Planted deciduous trees. Includes sweetgum and sycamore plantations. No equivalent
36 Successional Deciduous Forests Regenerating deciduous trees with a shrub stature. Commonly dominated by sweetgum, tulip poplars and maples. No equivalent
180 Agricultural Crop Fields Farm fields used for row crops. No equivalent
205 Agricultural Pasture/Hay and Natural Herbaceous Farm fields used for pasture grass or hay production, as well as old fields dominated by native and exotic grasses. No equivalent
202 Residential Urban Includes vegetation interspersed in residential areas. Includes lawns, mixed species woodlots, and horticultural shrubs. Vegetation accounts for between 20 - 70% of the cover. No equivalent
517 Hemlock Floodplain Forest Alluvial forest with hemlock and/or white pine in mountains and western piedmont. Hydrology is generally temporarily to seasonally flooded. Canada Hemlock Forest
521 Spruce/Fir Forest High Elevation Frazer-Fir - Red Spruce, Red Spruce and Red-Spruce-Yellow Birch Forests. Tree densities included here include both woodland to forest density. Highly intermixed with Northern Hardwoods, Grassy Balds, and Shrub Balds. Red Spruce--Fraser Fir Forest, Fraser Fir Forest
522 Northern Hardwoods High Elevation forests including yellow birch, American beech, and yellow buckeye. Includes forests with Hemlock and Yellow Birch. Northern Hardwoods Forest, Boulderfield Forest
523 Grassy Bald High Elevation grassy balds including Pennsylvania sedge, mountain oatgrass, as well as shrubby areas dominated by Alleghany and smooth blackberry. Grassy Bald
524 Shrub Bald Variable phenologies, predominantly evergreen balds with rhododendon and Mountain laurels. Deciduous shrubs including green alder and Alleghany and smooth blackberry are included as well. Red Oak - Chestnut Oak Woodlands may be included in cases where the density of the woodland species is low and the shrub component is dense. Heath Bald
525 Appalachian Oak Forest A variety of oak forest types including Black, White, Scarlet Oaks in dry to mesic situations. Includes forests historically co-dominated by American Chestnut. High Elevation Red Oak Forest, Montane White Oak Forest
526 Appalachian Cove Forest Mixed Mesophytic forests of the mountains. Includes tuliptree, basswood, yellow buckeye and surgar maple. This class is mapped to include cove forests dominated or co-dominated by hemlock. Rich Cove Forest, Acidic Cove Forest
527 Appalachian Hemlock Upland hemlock forests of the moutains region. Vary from side slopes to steep slope positions. Canada Hemlock Forest
528 Appalachian Xeric Pine Forest Pine forests and woodlands on xeric sites. A variety of pines, including Virginia, Shortleaf, Eastern White Pine, Table Mountain and Pitch pine. Often small areas of dense pine within a matrix of Xeric Oak-Pine Forests. Pine Oak Heath
529 Appalachian Xeric Mixed Forest Mixed forests with Virginia, Shortleaf, Eastern White Pine, Table Mountain and Pitch pines in combination with xeric oak species. Oaks include, white, Southern Red, black, and rock chestnut. Pine Oak Heath
530 Appalachian Xeric Deciduous Forest Deciduous forests in the mountains dominated by Xeric Oak species. Species include, white, Southern red, black, and rock chestnut. High Elevation Red Oak Forest, Montane White Oak Forest
533 Appalachian Swamp Forest Evergreen and deciduous forests with saturated hydrologies. This class may contain a variety of trees species, including hemlock - red maple, pitch pine, and white pine forests. Swamp Forest-Bog Complex, Southern Appalachian Bog, Southern Appalachian Fen
534 Appalachian Wet Shrubland/ Herbaceous Saturated shrubs and herbaceous vegetation. Often mapped as an inclusion in Appalachian Swamp Forest. Southern Appalachian Bog, Southern Appalachian Fen
View Entire Landcover Legend
 
Additional Spatial Constraints:
Exclude all area outside of known range.
Exclude the outerbanks.
Exclude areas of intensive human activity including moderately to highly developed landscapes.
 
CITATIONS:
Bent, A.C. 1938. Life histories of North American birds of prey. Part 2. U.S. Nat. Mus. Bull. 170. 482 pp., 92 pls.

Fisher, A.K. 1893. The hawks and owls of the United States in their relation to agriculture. Washington U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Bull. no. 6. 210 pp.

Fussell, J. III and M. Lyons. 1990. Birds of the Outer Banks [pamphlet]. Eastern National Parks and Monument Association Coastal Wildlife Refuge Society.

Hamer, T. E., et al. 1994. Hybridization between barred and spotted owls. Auk 111:487-492.

Fussell, J.O. III. 1994. A birderís guide to coastal North Carolina. Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press.

Sharp, D. U. 1989. Range extension of the barred owl in western Washington and first breeding record on the Olympic Peninsula. J. Raptor Res. 23:179-180.

Walker, Lewis Wayne. 1974. The book of owls. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. New York. 255 pp.

Bell, R. E. 1964. A sound triangulation method for counting barred owls. Wilson Bull. 76:292-294.

Clark, R. J., D. G. Smith, and L. H. Kelso. 1978. Working bibliography of owls of the world. National Wildlife Federation, Sci. & Tech. Ser. No. 1. 336 pp.

Harrison, C. 1978. A field guide to the nests, eggs and nestlings of North American birds. Collins, Cleveland, Ohio.

Harrison, H.H. 1979. A field guide to western birds' nests. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 279 pp.

Potter, E. F., J. F. Parnell, and R. P. Teulings. 1980. Birds of the Carolinas. Univ. North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill. 408 pp.

Terres, J.K. 1980. The Audubon Society encyclopedia of North American birds. Alfred A. Knopf, New York.

McGarigal, K., and J. D. Fraser. 1985. Barred owl responses to recorded vocalizations. Condor 87:552-553.

American Ornithologists' Union (AOU), Committee on Classification and Nomenclature. 1983. Check-list of North American Birds. Sixth Edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Allen Press, Inc., Lawrence, Kansas.

Bosakowski, T., et al. 1987. Distribution, density, and habitat relationships of the barred owl.... Pp. 135-143 in Nero, R. W., et al., eds. Biology and conserv. of northern forest owls. USDA For. Serv., Gen. Tech Rep. RM-142.

Bosakowski, T. 1987. Census of barred owls and spotted owls. Pages 307-308 in Nero, R. W., et al., eds. Biology and conservation of northern forest owls. USDA For. Serv., Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-142.

Allen, A. W. 1987. Habitat suitability index models:barred owl. U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv. Biol. Rep. 82(10.143). 17 pp.

Eckert, Allan W. 1978. The Owls of North America. Weather-vane Books, New York. 278 pp.

Fuller, M. R., and J. A. Mosher. 1987. Raptor survey techniques. Pages 37-65 in B. A. Giron Pendleton, et al., eds. Raptor management techniques manual. National Wildlife Federation, Washington, D.C.

Pendleton, B. A. Giron, et al. 1987. Raptor management techniques manual. National Wildlife Federation, Sci. and Tech. Ser. No. 10. 420 pp.

Johnson, D. H. 1987. Barred owls and nest boxes--results of a five-year study in Minnesota. Pages 129-134 in Nero, R. W., et al., eds. Biology and conservation of northern forest owls. USDA For. Serv., Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-142.

Bushman, E.S., and G.D. Therres. 1988. Habitat management guidelines for forest interior breeding birds of coastal Maryland. Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Tech. Publ. 88-1. 50 pp.

Johnsgard, P. 1988. North American owls:biology and natural history. Smithsonian Inst. Press. 336 pp.

Nicholls, T. H., and M. R. Fuller. 1987. Owl telemetry techniques. Pages 294-301 in Nero, R. W., et al., eds. Biology and conservation of northern forest owls. USDA Forest Service, Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-142.

Smith, D. G. 1987. Owl census techniques. Pages 304-307 in Nero, R. W., et al., eds. Biology and conservation of northern forest owls. USDA Forest Service, Gen. Tech. Rep. RM- 142.

Dunbar, D. L., et al. 1991. Status of the spotted owl, STRIX OCCIDENTALIS, and barred owl, STRIX VARIA, in southwestern British Columbia. Canadian Field-Naturalist 106:464-468.

Voous, K. H., and A. Cameron. 1989. Owls of the Northern Hemisphere. MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 320 pp.

Sibley, C.G., and B.L. Monroe. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, Connecticut. xxiv + 1111 pp.

Wolfe A, de la Torre J. 1990. Owls their life and behavior. New York: Crown Publishers. 214 p.

Alsop FJ III. 1991. Birds of the Smokies. Gatlinburg: Great Smoky Mountains Natural History Association.

Nicholls, T. H. and D. W. Warner. 1972. Barred owl habitat use as determined by radiotelemetry. J. Wildl. Manage. 36:213-224.

10 March 2005
 
This data was compiled and/or developed by the North Carolina GAP Analysis Project.

For more information please contact them at:
NC-GAP Analysis Project
Dept. of Zoology, NCSU
Campus Box 7617
Raleigh, NC 27695-7617
(919) 513-2853
www.basic.ncsu.edu/ncgap