Boobook Owl

Boobook-owlScientific name: Ninox novaeseelandiae
Conservation Status: Least Concern
Body length: 23-36 cm
Weight: 170-360 g
Incubation: About 30 days
Number of eggs: 2-3

Distribution: Australia, including offshore islands, Lesser Sunda Islands, Timor and New Guinea
Habitat: Most habitats but prefers Eucalypt forests and woodlands

Description: The Boobook is the smallest Australian owl. It has dark brown feathers with spots of white and grey. Its eyes are often bright yellow. Females are bigger than males.

Diet: This bird is a carnivore and eats small mammals, birds
and invertebrates.

In the wild: The Boobook is renowned for its acrobatic skill in catching invertebrate prey such as moths, beetles, spiders and crickets. Rodents, small bats, frogs and birds are also targets.

Like many Australian birds, Boobooks build nests in hollow trees. They also roost there during the day, coming out only at night. They are often found in the suburbs where they feed on the introduced House Mouse.

Threats: Habitat destruction is the main threat to the Boobook Owl. With fewer trees available, they have nowhere to lay their eggs and raise their young.

At Perth Zoo: See Boobook Owls in the Nocturnal House.

Join the Perth Zoo-coordinated Night Stalk from 1 September to 16 October and spotlight for native animals in your local bushland. Night Stalk is a great way to become involved in community conservation action and to learn about our native animals, their habitat and their threats. Night Stalk is sponsored by Tronox.

Did you know? The female Boobook is fed by the male whilst she incubates the eggs. When the chicks fledge and the family starts hunting together they change their call from the commonly known ’woo hoo’ call to a sound more like that of a giant cricket. This call seems to keep the family in contact with each other.

Download the Boobook Owl Fact Sheet (pdf).

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