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Barn Owls
Evolution and Ecology

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  • Date Published: February 2020
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107165755

$ 59.99

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About the Authors
  • 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.

    • Covers more than a 150 years of research on barn owls from across the globe, combining international perspectives on their evolution, ecology and behaviour
    • Simplifies theoretical concepts and research into an accessible and readable text, accompanied by beautiful colour illustrations
    • Intends to share the wonder of this fascinating bird, and encourage its protection and conservation on a global scale
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    • Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2021, Choice Reviews

    Reviews & endorsements

    '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

    '… this is a thoroughly enjoyable and comprehensive introduction to the Barn Owl. It is one of a number of books on the Barn Owl but it will be the first one I turn to in future when seeking information about this bird's lifestyle and ecology.' Ian Carter, British Birds

    'Written from his own research work and 3,600 papers on barn owls and their close relatives, there are many new facts here for you to absorb. An easy layout allows you to find the facts on a bird that is never out of danger due to the sheer amount of poison used in this country and around the world to remove rodents from our domestic and industrial world. But this is also a bird that has brought some form of peace and understanding in the Middle East, and shown us the way forward as to how to rid the poison from our lives! The book is full of excellent photos and artwork and needs a place on your bookshelf.' John Miles, Bird Watching

    '… [Alexandre Roulin] examines what has made these owls so successful and discusses aspects of their biology, including morphology and physiology, natural history, behavior, conservation, and evolution of their plumage patterns. Barn owls have some unusual characteristics that make them attractive model organisms for research: acute hearing, ability to fly almost silently, high reproductive potential, asynchronous hatching of chicks coupled with peaceful sibling interactions, plumage variability, and high population fluctuations. This volume is profusely illustrated and includes reproductions of paintings and drawings, photographic images, and charts. A 'Further Reading' section at the end of each division includes references to scholarly literature. Written in a less formal style than is typical of academic works without sacrificing the scholarly focus, this book will appeal to all readers and is essential for academic libraries supporting biology programs.' C. E. Buckley, Choice

    'This new book about [Barn Owls] and their relatives (Grass, Masked and Sooty Owls) brings together information from thousands of research papers … it is not a heavy textbook but reads like a novel. The text is interspersed with beautiful drawings, paintings and photographs. The author … has published over 240 research papers, the majority on Barn Owls. In this book, he covers all aspects of their biology and ecology, with substantial references for further reading and gives suggestions for future research at the end of each chapter … It is also particularly interesting that the book doesn't just have a small focus on Barn Owls in one country but covers the species' entire, extensive range due mainly to the author's passion and experiences. This beautifully presented book is for anyone with an interest in Barn Owls, not just for those involved in research. It is a worthy addition to the bookcase.' Hayley Anne Douglas, Scottish Birds

    'This monograph is very current and in my opinion the best of the many … works so far on the barn owl.' translated from Der Falke

    '… presents a beautifully designed, fascinating book about the world of barn owls … I can recommend this book to scientists as well as hobby ornithologists and people interested in nature. There is sure to be something exciting, new or amazing for everyone to discover.' Bettina Almasi, Ornithological Observer

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2020
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107165755
    • length: 314 pages
    • dimensions: 253 x 178 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.8kg
    • contains: 100 b/w illus. 50 colour illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Conservation
    3. Parasites and predators
    4. Physiology in an ecological context
    5. Morphology in an ecological context
    6. Foraging
    7. Sexual behaviour
    8. Reproduction
    9. Parental care
    10. Sibling interactions
    11. Demography
    12. Plumage coloration.

  • Author

    Alexandre Roulin, Université de Lausanne, Switzerland
    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.


    • Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2021, Choice Reviews

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