With heart-shaped face, buff back and wings, and pure white underparts, the barn owl is a distinctive and much-loved bird which has fascinated people from many cultures throughout history. How did the barn owl colonise the world? What adaptations have made this bird so successful? How is the increasing impact of human disturbance affecting these animals? Answering these questions and more, Roulin brings together the main global perspectives on the evolution, ecology and behaviour of the barn owl and its relatives, discussing topics such as the high reproductive potential, physiology, social and family interaction, pronounced colour variation and global distribution. Accessible and beautifully illustrated, this definitive volume on the barn owl is for researchers, professionals and graduate students in ornithology, animal behaviour, ecology, conservation biology and evolutionary biology, and will also appeal to amateur ornithologists and nature lovers.
3. Parasites and predators
4. Physiology in an ecological context
5. Morphology in an ecological context
7. Sexual behaviour
9. Parental care
10. Sibling interactions
12. Plumage coloration
Alexandre Roulin is Full Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the Université de Lausanne, Switzerland. He has published more than 240 research papers, the majority of which are on the barn owl. He currently participates in a project that combines ecology and reconciliation in the Middle East, which places the barn owl at the centre of ecological discussions between Israel, Palestine and Jordan on the use of pesticides and agriculture.
"[...] Compared with other Barn Owl books, this one is more towards the academic end of the scale, but its style is engaging and approachable to anyone who is fascinated by owls and how they live. Rather than dense text, Roulin has chosen to create 11 chapters, each of which has many sub-sections. The result is a highly informative book which is easy to dip into for facts and attractively illustrated with art from Laurent Willenegger in addition to colour photographs. [...] This is a well-organized book that delivers facts in a very approachable manner. It allows the reader to cherry-pick areas to read or simply to work their way through the chapters. It was a delight to read."
– Keith Betton, Ibis, August 2021
"The ultimate compendium of all things about barn owls. This beautifully illustrated book will appeal to researchers, students and amateurs alike by providing a comprehensive account of the behavior and life history traits of this much beloved animal."
– Jan-Åke Nilsson, Lunds universitet, Sweden
"[This book] refreshingly presents the biology of the barn owl and its relatives within the framework and context of today's world, and not simply within the original natural environment that is currently vanishing or, more commonly, already lost. Roulin forthrightly describes the challenges that barn owls meet, points out conservation measures to ensure their existence, and explores the potential value of barn owls in biological pest control and peace among warring countries. Ethical dilemmas and responsibilities of doing ecological research on wild animals are also skilfully and seamlessly integrated into this insightful and thought-provoking book."
– Dominique G. Homberger, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge
"Barn owls are everywhere, a ubiquity that might lead people to take them for granted. That would be a mistake. In this beautifully illustrated and wide-ranging book, Alexandre Roulin uncovers the extraordinary abilities of this cosmopolitan bird. Meticulously researched, this book is filled with information from the latest studies on every aspect of barn owl biology, tied together with entertaining prose that underscores both how much and how little we understand about the owls that are all around us."
– Marlène Zuk, University of Minnesota