Aust birds    Bird names   News   1-26    Habitats    Key plants    Glossary    Plumage    Nests    Tips    Thumbnails    Gen. info    Sponsors    Photos for sale   
NON-PASSERINES     1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10     11     12     13     14 15     16     17     18     19     20     21     22     23     24     25     26     PASSERINES
Common names sorted alphabetically: A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   W   Y  


Barking Owl

(Ninox connivens)
Alternate name(s): "Winking Owl", "Screaming Woman"
Aboriginal name(s): "woorop", "koordemool", "woolbogle" (WA); "gooragang"; Race "connivens": "guliman" [gamilaraay]

Size: 39-44 cm; wing span 85-120 cm
Weight: 380-960 g

Similar species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Barking Owl at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range


Click here for sighting information


Race "connivens"



Frontal view of a large adult male Barking Owl resting (photo courtesy of C. Charles)
[Chatswood, NSW, September 2007]

Lateral view of a male Barking Owl; identification of the genders was made by the birds' behaviour - the male is less attached to the nesting hollow and the chick and is therefore more easily spooked; this bird was hustled at the time of the observations by a bunch of Noisy Friarbirds
[Pilliga scrub, NSW, December 2011]

The same male Barking Owl as shown above, now with its head turned back
[Pilliga scrub, NSW, December 2011]

The same male Barking Owl as shown above, now with its head turned back
[Pilliga scrub, NSW, December 2011]


Near-frontal view of a female Barking Owl; note how Barking Owls have a very inconspicuous fringe around their head to help them focus on sounds made by their prey; instead they have very prominent eyes, which may suggest predominantly visual target acquisition
[Pilliga scrub, NSW, December 2011]

Here the same female Barking Owl, now with its head turned back; this shot shows most clearly the raptor's beak - also very prominent are the powerful talons, the bird's most powerful weapon
[Pilliga scrub, NSW, December 2011]

Dorsal view of the same female Barking Owl as above...
[Pilliga scrub, NSW, December 2011]

Female Barking Owl looking at the observer
[Pilliga scrub, NSW, December 2011]

Sex unknown

Dorsal view of a Barking Owl roosting in a casuarina (photo courtesy of M. Windeyer)
[Castlereagh River, Gilgandra, NSW, November 2016]


Near-frontal view of a fledgling Barking Owl on its first day out of the nest
[Pilliga scrub, NSW, December 2011]

The same fledgling Barking Owl as above, now with its head turned
[Pilliga scrub, NSW, December 2011]

Fledgling Barking Owl here seen more laterally...
[Pilliga scrub, NSW, December 2011]

... and now seen looking slightly upwards
[Pilliga scrub, NSW, December 2011]

Frontal view of a Barking Owl in captivity; one can see clearly the bird's underwing pattern (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)

Race "peninsularis"



Close-up lateral view of a large adult male Barking Owl (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Broome Bird Observatory, Broome, WA, April 2015]

Lateral view of a large adult male Barking Owl (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Broome Bird Observatory, Broome, WA, April 2015]

Dorsal view of a large adult male Barking Owl (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Broome Bird Observatory, Broome, WA, April 2015]

Sex unknown

Frontal view of an adult Barking Owl (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Rapid Creek, NT, July 2013]

The same Barking Owl as shown above, now seen preening (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Rapid Creek, NT, July 2013]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Jul - Oct Eggs: 2 - 3 Incubation period: 36 days Fledging age: 35 - 42 days

The breeding season depends on geographical latitude. It is from July to September in the North and August to October in the South.

Nest building: Male (female) Incubation: Female Dependent care: Female

While the male may prepare the nest, the female has all the subsequent duties like incubation and caring for the chicks. While the female incubates the eggs and tends to the needs of the hatchlings, the male feeds her. During daytime he will then roost somewhere close to the nest, possibly with prey in one of its talons. As the chicks grow up, about 2 weeks prior to hatching, the female leaves the nest and stays close to the nesting hollow. If there are chicks, both parents will be seen near the nesting hollow, being attentive. The loss of their brood can be diagnosed by a decline in their interest in the nesting hollow.

The single chick of the pair described here hatched in early December 2011, 2 weeks and 4 days after the female had emerged and just after a major rain event. The parents are one of only 2 pairs (out of 28 monitored) known to have successfully bred that year. Many pairs lost their chicks, most likely to goannas.


"bungobittah", "malunna" = nest [Aboriginal]

Type: Tree hollow Material: No lining Height above ground: 4 - 20? m

If no suitable trees are found, Barking Owls may also use rock crevices.

Entrance to the nesting hollow from which the chick shown above had emerged; the tree in this case is a River Red Gum
[Pilliga scrub, NSW, December 2011]


"boyanga", "booyanga", "derinya", "dirandil", "koomura", "ngampu", "nooluk", "pateena" = Egg; "dirundirri" = eggs [Aboriginal]; "gawu" = eggs [gamilaraay]

Size: 48 x 38 mm Colour: White Shape: Tapered oval


Social behaviour: Territorial Mobility: Sedentary Elementary unit: Solitary/pair

The family of birds shown in photos above is one out of 28 nesting pairs that are being monitored in a joint program by the NSW DPI and NPWS.

Within their territory each pair has various favourite perches, roosts and a small number of potential nesting hollows.

Food, Diet

Adults: Birds, small animals Dependents: Pieces of adults' prey Water intake: None

Like other species of owls, Barking Owls are carnivores. They prey on a mix of small mammals (e.g. gliders), bats (such as microbats) and other birds, up to their own size (e.g. Galahs), which they pick off their roosts while asleep at night.

They take their liquids in the form of blood of their prey.


For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

barkowl_20151003.m4a connivens
Territorial calls (male) © MD
barkowl_20151003_2.mp3 connivens
Territorial calls male
(perch1, flight, perch2)
© MD
barkowl_20151003_3.m4a connivens
Territorial calls male
(long sequence)
© MD

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

Would you like to contribute photos or sound recordings to this site?
If interested, please CLICK HERE. Credits to contributors are given HERE.