Barking Owl

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Ninox connivens


Size 35-45cm.

The only owl in this area looking down at you with ‘piercing’ yellow eyes. Broken vertical brown streaking on a whitish front. Back and wings are greyish/brown, the wings have white spots. Legs feathered, with powerful dull yellow feet. Roosts by day in leafy trees. Often found with the help of smaller birds “mobbing”, giving away the location. Usually in pairs or family groups, sometimes with up to four young. The call is an unmistakable “wook wook” reminiscent of dogs barking.

Feeding Habits

At night they feed on mammals, birds and insects.


Nest in large tree hollows lined with a few sticks and debris. The female incubates the eggs and the male provides her food. The young stay with the parents for several months.

Traditional Owner Values

Juru Language Name : Wula Dibala meaning : Death Bird


When someone in the family is sick in hospital and we don’t see the owl hanging around we know the family member will be alright. When the owl hangs around night after night and makes a soft hooting sound we know that it won’t be long before that family member in hospital dies.

Places to Look

Open forest, beside creeks, rivers and swamps with large paperbark trees.


Clearing of large trees suitable for nesting. Pesticides in prey.


Coastal Birds of the Burdekin Dry Tropics

NQ Dry Tropics gratefully acknowledges the contribution of Birdlife Townsville (formerly the Townsville Region Bird Observers Club) to the information on this page.

© Birdlife Townsville
© Birdlife Townsville
© Birdlife Townsville

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