Barn owls may be the most common and highly distributed of the species, but a black barn owl is extremely rare. These one in a million birds have a breathtaking looking, yet due to their condition they don’t survive in wild.
Their unusual coloring is the result of a genetical condition called melanism that occurs once in 100,000. Unlikely albinism, who’s a lack of skin pigmentation, the melanism occurs because of the skin or the plumage’s black pigmentation. Unfortunately, because of their rare condition, black barn owls end up kicked out of the nest as chicks. Their own mothers get confused by their unlikely coloring.
“The parents think that because a chick is not white they shouldn’t feed it,” said Baroness Sasa Vonbarth und Kippenruer who runs a rescue charity.
In the UK there are only three black barn owls and all of them live in captivity, and among them this lovely young barn named Sable which lives with the Baroness Sasa Vonbarth und Kippenruer.
“Sable is very peculiar,” the baroness describes the majestic owl. “However, if she got out into the wild she’d be gone within 12 hours.”
Although living in captivity is not an option for a wild animals, for these rare birds is the only option as their chances of surviver in the wild would be extremely slim. Besides their unusual pigmentation, melanistic owls also suffer of poor eye sighting and they can develop hearing problems.