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13

Australian Boobook

(Ninox boobook)
Alternate name(s): "Boobook Owl", "Cuckoo Owl", "Spotted Owl" "Mopoke*"
Aboriginal name(s): "boobook", "mulara"; Race "ocellata": "koorkoda", "kookobort", "kookomit", "yartj" (WA)

Size: 25-35 cm
Weight: 170-360 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 Australian Boobook at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "boobook"

Not the photos you want? Or are you after even better quality? Have a look here .

ADULT

MALE

Close-up frontal portrait of a male(?) Australian Boobook
[Eulah Creek, NSW, July 2011]

Frontal view of a male(?) Australian Boobook
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2010]

Frontal view of a male(?) Australian Boobook perched in a eucalypt, where it attracted a lot of unwanted attention
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2010]

Frontal view of a male(?) Australian Boobook studying the intruder
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, November 2011]

Near-frontal/ventral view of a male(?) Australian Boobook, here seen looking sideways
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2010]

Lateral view of a male(?) Australian Boobook checking out the photographer
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2010]

Lateral view of a male(?) Australian Boobook perched in a eucalypt
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2010]

Lateral view of a male(?) Australian Boobook
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, November 2011]

Lateral view of a male(?) Australian Boobook, with its head turned backwards
[Eulah Creek, NSW, February 2014]

Dorsal view of a male Australian Boobook - note the pale colours
[Brigalow Park NR, NSW, September 2012]

FEMALE

Close-up portrait of a female Australian Boobook - note the rich colours (photo courtesy of C. Charles)
[Bluegum Reserve, Chatswood, NSW, December 2008]

Lateral view of a female(?) Australian Boobook
[Eulah Creek, NSW, February 2014]

Lateral view of a female(?) Australian Boobook looking for prey
[Eulah Creek, NSW, February 2014]

Dorsal view of a female(?) Australian Boobook; note its rufous-brown "socks"
[Eulah Creek, NSW, July 2011]

PAIR

Here the first pair of Australian Boobooks spotted by us; the bird on the left issued purring, high-pitched and long-stretched calls, one of which was answered by the one on the right with a low, rumbling monotonous double hoot
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2010]

Sex unknown

Close-up frontal portrait of an Australian Boobook (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[JC Slaughter Falls, Brisbane, QLD, May 2020]

Near-frontal view of an Australian Boobook (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Whites Hill Reserve, Camp Hill, Brisbane, QLD, May 2020]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Close-up near-frontal view of an Australian Boobook; this bird may still be young, especially because its landings were clumsy
[Eulah Creek, NSW, March 2016]

Race "halmaturina"(?)

ADULT

Sex unknown

Frontal view of an Australian Boobook (photo courtesy of J. Thurmer)
[Adelaide, SA, May 2006]

Race "ocellata"

ADULT

Sex unknown

Near-frontal view of an Australian Boobook (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Goorrandalng Campground, Keep River NP, NT, September 2020]

Lateral view of an Australian Boobook (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Goorrandalng Campground, Keep River NP, NT, September 2020]

Near-dorsal view of an Australian Boobook (photo courtesy of C. Pears)
[Desert Park, Alice Springs, NT, August 2016]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Jul - Oct Eggs: 2 - 3 Incubation period: ca. 34 days Fledging age: ca. 35 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: ? Incubation: Female Dependent care: ?

Nest

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

Type: Tree hollow Material: No lining Height above ground: 1? - 20? m

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

Overview of an Australian Boobook in a spacious hollow that is likely its nest hollow (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Dayboro, QLD, November 2019]

Australian Boobook in a spacious hollow that is likely its nest hollow (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Dayboro, QLD, November 2019]

Eggs

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

Size: 43 x 35 mm Colour: White Shape: Tapered oval

The colour of eggs changes from initially white to stained brown over time.

Behaviour

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

Australian Boobooks usually roost in tree hollows (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Pullenvale, Brisbane, QLD, August 2020]

Like other (diurnal and nocturnal) raptors, Australian Boobooks have inner eyelids that they can close to protect their eyes while still having (reduced) vision
[Eulah Creek, NSW, February 2014]

Food, Diet

Like other owls, Australian Boobooks are carnivores. They prey on large insects and small mammals and birds.

Near-frontal view of an Australian Boobook with its prey, a moth (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Goorrandalng Campground, Keep River NP, NT, September 2020]

Lateral view of an Australian Boobook with its prey, a moth (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Goorrandalng Campground, Keep River NP, NT, September 2020]

Call(s)/Song

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.

sthboob_20151016.mp3 boobook
(NW NSW)
Territorial calls © MD
sthboob_20141106.m4a boobook
(NW NSW)
Territorial calls (5 min sequence) © MD
sthboob_20151016_2.mp3 boobook
(NW NSW)
Territorial calls (8:30 min sequence) © MD
sthboob_20180921.m4a boobook
(NW NSW)
Territorial dispute?
(frogs in foreground)
© MD
sthboob_20180921_2.m4a boobook
(NW NSW)
grumbling calls
(frogs in foreground)
© MD
sthboob_20180921_3.m4a boobook
(NW NSW)
squawking calls (4 s, 14 s)
(frogs in foreground)
© MD

More Australian Boobook sound recordings are available at xeno-canto.org .

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.