Southern Boobook

(Ninox novaeseelandiae)

Also known as the ‘Mopoke’, this is the smallest and most common owl in Australia.


Southern Boobok Owl

Habitat and appearance

Southern boobook owls are found throughout mainland Australia and Tasmania, and on some coastal islands. They can be seen in a variety of habitats from dense forest to open desert. Like other owl species, the southern boobook is nocturnal. Its plumage is dark chocolate brown above and rufous-brown below, heavily streaked and spotted with white. The bill is grey with a darker tip, and the feet are grey or yellow. The facial disk is chocolate brown and the eyes are large and yellowish. The young southern boobooks are almost entirely buff-white below, with conspicuous dark brown facial discs.

Eating behaviour and diet

Feeding takes place mostly at night, but some afternoon and morning activity may occur. The southern boobook preys on insects, and other small animal species including house mice. Most prey is detected by listening and watching from a tall perch. Flying prey such as moths and small bats are seized in mid-air, while ground dwelling prey animals are pounced upon.

Nesting and babies

Tree hollows are the preferred nesting sites, and at Wildlife Wonders care has been taken to provide these. They are usually lined with leaves and small twigs. The eggs are incubated by the female but both parents feed the young, sometimes with help from a second female helper.

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