The barred owl (Strix varia) is a large typical owl native to North America. Best known as the hoot owl for its distinctive call, it goes by many other names, including eight hooter, rain owl, wood owl, and striped owl.
The adult is 40–63 cm (16–25 in) long with a 96–125 cm (38–49 in) wingspan. Weight in this species is 500 to 1,050 g (1.10 to 2.31 lb). It has a pale face with dark rings around the eyes, a yellow beak and brown eyes. It is the only typical owl of the eastern United States which has brown eyes; all others have yellow eyes. The upper parts are mottled gray-brown. The underparts are light with markings; the chest is barred horizontally while the belly is streaked vertically. The legs and feet are covered in feathers up to the talons. The head is round and lacks ear tufts, a distinction from the slightly smaller short-eared owl, which favors more open, marginal habitats.
Outside of the closely related spotted owl, this streaky, chunky-looking owl is unlikely to be confused over most of the range. The spotted owl is similar in appearance but has spots rather than streaks down the underside. Due to their fairly large size, the barred owl may be confused for the great horned owl by the inexperienced but are dramatically different in shape, eye color and markings.