A Caltech Library Service

Sound Localization in the Barn Owl

Konishi, M. (1971) Sound Localization in the Barn Owl. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 50 (1). p. 148. ISSN 0001-4966. doi:10.1121/1.1977708.

[img] PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Barn owls (Tyto alba) can use sound to catch prey in total darkness. Two barn owls were trained to strike protected loudspeakers emitting various artificial sounds. The accuracy of localization depended on the frequency, bandwidth, and temporal pattern of the test sound. Continuous pure tones of frequencies below 6 kHz and above 9 kHz were hard to localize. The accuracy improved as the frequency increased from 6 to 9 kHz. Within this range continuous sounds containing two frequencies were more accurately localized than either frequency alone. Sustained wide‐band noises always assured precise localization. The owls localized tone bursts more accurately than continuous tones. Whatever signals were used, accurate localization was largely due to the owls' ability to use the sounds for guiding the flight direction. The midcourse correction could occur during a flight lasting as short as 1 sec. When the signal was switched from one speaker to another after takeoff, the birds could strike the second speaker.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Additional Information:© 1971 Acoustical Society of America.
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20151208-113359690
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Sound Localization in the Barn Owl M. Konishi J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 50, 148 (1971);
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:62702
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:08 Dec 2015 22:31
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 23:05

Repository Staff Only: item control page