MASKED OWLS

Australian Geographic - - Power Couple -

Barn owl

Tyto alba

Length: 29–38cm Wing­span: 70–100cm Weight: 310–360g

Lives Aus­tralia-wide. Com­mon, but shy and rarely seen. Dis­tinc­tive heart-shaped face. Call is in­fre­quent loud screech. Feeds mostly on small mam­mals, but also birds, rep­tiles, frogs and in­sects. Hunts mostly over open ground. Num­bers rise dur­ing mouse plagues.

Eastern grass owl

Tyto longimem­bris Length: 30–38cm Wing­span: 100–115cm Weight: M 265–310g, F 310–480g

A ground-nester found in grass­lands, coastal heath, swamps and farm­land in eastern and north­ern Aus­tralia. No­madic. Mostly silent, but may pro­duce rasp­ing screech or hiss­ing trill. Hunts mainly for ground mam­mals.

Greater sooty owl

Tyto tene­bri­cosa

Length: M 33–36cm, F 38–43cm

Wing­span: M 82–111cm, F 101–118cm

Weight: M 490g, F 890g

Lives in south-eastern Aus­tralia forests. Large, heav­ily built with dark fa­cial disc with black out­line. Loud whistling screech, like a fall­ing bomb. Hunts in for­est gul­lies for pos­sums, and also rats and bandi­coots.

Lesser sooty owl

Tyto mul­ti­punc­tata Length: M 32cm, F 36cm Wing­span: M 79cm, F 90cm

Weight: M 370g, F 560g

Lives only in rain­for­est and other dense for­est in far north QLD. Call is a bomb-whis­tle. Preys on small mam­mals and birds as well as geckos and frogs. May roost in caves. Nests in tree hol­lows, usu­ally from March to May.

Masked owl

Tyto no­vae­hol­lan­diae Length: M 33–41cm, F 39–50cm

Wing­span: M 90–110cm, F 96–128cm

Weight: M 240–800g, F 545–1260g

Found in heavy forests within 300km of the coast in eastern and north­ern Aus­tralia, south-west­ern WA and TAS. Has screeching hiss call. Bandi­coots and rab­bits are prey.

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