Male and Female Differences

How To Tell Between A Male and A Female

Telling the difference between male and female Barn Owls can be very difficult to do.  This page is designed to give you pictures to compare between the two and the various body parts to look at that will give you the best advantages to speculating which sex you are looking at!

Identifying Characteristics:
  • Feathers around the rim of the Facial Disk
  • Tail Coloring and Lines
  • Neck and Chest
  • Backs, Sides and Wings

Here are two of our babies from the last clutch of Gerald and Gertrude:

The female is Galaxy. The male is Giovani. They look very similar to each other, with just a few areas that are slightly different.
Feathers Around the Rim of their Facial Disks:

Galaxy (left) - slightly darker feathers on edge the facial disk  and Giovani (right) - slightly lighter than Galaxy

Tail Coloring and Lines:

Galaxy (left) has bold dark grey lines on her tail.

Giovani (right) has very light grey lines on his tail and not as many.

These distinctions can vary in degree with each owl.

Neck and Chests:


Galaxy (left) has slightly more coloring on her neck and chest with quite a bit of spotting . She also has larger sized spots mixed with smaller ones.

Giovani (right) has a lighter neck and chest with a small amount of spotting and smaller sized spots.

Many males have a completely white neck and chest but not all as you see Giovani has a slight caramel coloring on his neck as well.

Close up of Giovani's (left) and Galaxy's (right) neck and chests.

Backs, Sides and Wings. This can be the most challenging area because differences can be so slight:

The differences on these two are very slight and hard to distinguish, even when they are close together, without being able to see the other areas we've previously mentioned.

Galaxy (left) has more dark grey blotches on her sides and back and, wider lines on her wings

Giovani (right) is lighter in his coloring with less grey blotches. He also has softer lines on his wings.