Barn owls are effective hunters of small rodents. One hunting technique is a leap from the ground followed by a brief flight and a plummeting ‘strike’ on to an acoustically targeted – potentially entirely hidden – prey. We used forceplate measurements to derive kinetics of the Leap and Strike. Leaping performance was similar to reported values for guinea fowl. This is likely achieved despite the owl's considerably smaller size due to its relatively long legs and use of wing upstroke. Strikes appear deliberately forceful: impulses could have been spread over larger periods during greater deflections of the centre of mass, as observed in leaping and an alighting landing measurement. The Strike, despite forces around 150 times that of a mouse body weight, is not thought to be critical to the kill; rather, forceful Strikes may function primarily to enable rapid penetration of leaf litter or snow cover, allowing grasping of hidden prey.

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