This is a large woodland owl with plumage designed to provide good camouflage in forested settings. The Barred Owl is stocky in shape, with a short tail and broad wings; the sexes look alike, but the female is generally larger. The head is rounded, and lacks eartufts like those of the larger Great Horned Owl; a large facial disc of pale brownish-gray, concentrically barred feathers surrounds dark brown eyes. The upperparts are broadly and regularly barred a pale buff and deep brown, the breast is barred brown and buff, and the belly is streaked lengthwise with brown - an overall color and pattern that helps this owl blend into the dappled filtering of sunlight through trees. This species resembles its close relative, the Northern Spotted Owl, but differs in several ways: the Barred Owl is lighter in color, is larger, has a paler face, has a brighter, buffy-yellow bill, and has a streaked belly. Fledglings of the two species both have a banded upperwing pattern and look almost alike, but Barred Owl fledglings have broader wingbands.
Meet our resident Barred Owls: