(10 October 2002). Breeding is seasonal with most eggs laid in spring from late October to early November. This bird is also called a Bismarck masked owl, a New Britain barn owl, or a New Britain masked owl. Birds of Macquarie Island are not included in this list. Females are considerably darker, as well as larger, than the males, ranging from 43 to 57 centimetres (17 to 22 in) in length, compared with the males’ 35 to 42 centimetres (14 to 17 in). Eventually the birds flew off to hunt leaving Mick and me gob smacked at our good fortune at finding not just one bird but a pair and for being able to observe such a long interaction between them. His thesis can be downloaded from https://www.dropbox.com/sh/a93sxw6lsosftfk/5yY20FrsFZ . The Tasmanian Masked Owl has a low abundance (Bell et al . Strictly nocturnal in its habits, as night approaches it sallies forth from the hollows of the large gum-trees, and flaps slowly and noiselessly over the plains and swamps in search of its prey, which consists of rats and small quadrupeds generally.”[4]. Peter Marsh ===============================, To unsubscribe from this mailing list, send the message: unsubscribe (in the body of the message, with no Subject line) to: birding-aus-request@vicnet.net.au, http://birding-aus.org ===============================, Copyright © 2020 R D Woodford - All Rights Reserved, https://www.dropbox.com/sh/a93sxw6lsosftfk/5yY20FrsFZ. It is the largest subspecies of the Australian masked owl, the largest Tyto owl in the world, and is sometimes considered a full species. The Morepork call elicited a vocal response and the bird flew over our heads providing excellent flight views in the spotlight. It is a large bird with a mask-like facial disc and distinctive husky, screeching call. An owl's talons, like those of most birds of prey, can seem massive in comparison to the body size outside of flight. Tasmanian masked owls are not only large, but robust. The owl has also been successfully introduced to Lord Howe Island, a subtropical territory of New South Wales in the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand, where it is considered an invasive species. [6], The Tasmanian masked owl is considered to be endangered under the Tasmanian Threatened Species Protection Act 1995, because of its small population (estimated at about 1330 breeding birds, or 615 pairs)[8] as well as ongoing habitat loss, especially of old-growth forest suitable for breeding. The chicks are covered in, at first, white, then creamy down, and fledge in 10–12 weeks. [7], These owls hunt at night, preying on a wide range of animals, from insects to mammals as large as rabbits, bandicoots and brushtail possums. It was first described by John Gould (as Strix castanops), who wrote about it in his “Handbook to the Bird… The population there is considered to be a threat to the endemic Lord Howe woodhen and Lord Howe currawong, as well as to breeding seabirds, and is culled when possible.[6][9][10]. They nest in large tree hollows with a floor of decaying wood debris. The owls inhabit both wet and dry eucalypt forests, woodlands and adjoining areas of agricultural land. These include a subspecies of wedge-tailed eagle (Aquila audax fleayi), the Tasmanian masked owl, and the white morph of the grey goshawk. The Tasmanian masked owl has some of the proportionally longest talons of any bird of prey; they appear enormous in comparison to the body when fully extended to grasp prey. and spent at least half an hour chattering to one another. This species is the largest Tyto owl and the second largest of the nocturnal birds (night birds) in Australia (the largest is the Powerful Owl, Ninox strenua). I came down to Tasmania in April for a ‘family’ holiday with only 2 birding objectives, firstly to see the small Tasmanian Owl that the IOC have designated as the Morepork Ninox novaeseelandiae leucopsis ( a split from Southern Boobook) and the second was to see the Tasmanian sub-species of Masked Owl. [6], Anecdotally, Tasmanian masked owls were first bred in captivity in 1945 in Launceston by Miss Audrey Lee. You could also potentially spot various penguin species that visit the island from much further south if you’re lucky. As it did so there was another screech from the opposite direction. Biodiversity Values Database This version current at August 2011 Page 1 MASKED OWL Tyto novaehollandiae castenops Status Endangered (Tasmanian Threatened Species Protection Act 1995), due to the small population size and ongoing habitat loss. Tasmanian masked owls, ... the Tasmanian masked owl, ... because the Lord Howe Island masked owls have changed in both size and behaviour.