Nature conservation

Threatened species

Sooty Owl - profile

Indicative distribution

   Loading map...
The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Tyto tenebricosa
Conservation status in NSW: Vulnerable
Commonwealth status: Not listed
Profile last updated: 24 Feb 2014


A medium-sized owl to 45 cm long, with dark eyes set in a prominent flat, heart-shaped facial disc. Dark sooty-grey in colour, with large eyes in a grey face, fine white spotting above and below, and a pale belly. The plumage of the fledglings is similar to the adult, but has tufts of down on the head and underparts.


Occupies the easternmost one-eighth of NSW, occurring on the coast, coastal escarpment and eastern tablelands. Territories are occupied permanently.

Habitat and ecology

  • Occurs in rainforest, including dry rainforest, subtropical and warm temperate rainforest, as well as moist eucalypt forests.
  • Roosts by day in the hollow of a tall forest tree or in heavy vegetation; hunts by night for small ground mammals or tree-dwelling mammals such as the Common Ringtail Possum (Pseudocheirus peregrinus) or Sugar Glider (Petaurus breviceps).
  • Nests in very large tree-hollows.

Regional distribution and habitat

Click on a region below to view detailed distribution, habitat and vegetation information.


Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

CMA CMA sub-region Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
Border Rivers-GwydirNortheast Forest Lands Predicted None
Central WestWollemi Known
Hawkesbury-NepeanBurragorang (Part A) Known None
Hawkesbury-NepeanCapertee (Part A) Known
Hawkesbury-NepeanCumberland Known None
Hawkesbury-NepeanKanangra Known None
Hawkesbury-NepeanMoss Vale Known None
Hawkesbury-NepeanPittwater Known None
Hawkesbury-NepeanSydney Cataract Known None
Hawkesbury-NepeanWollemi Known None
Hawkesbury-NepeanYengo Known None
Hunter-Central RiversBarrington Known None
Hunter-Central RiversComboyne Plateau Known None
Hunter-Central RiversEllerston Known None
Hunter-Central RiversHunter Known None
Hunter-Central RiversKaruah Manning Known None
Hunter-Central RiversMacleay Hastings Known None
Hunter-Central RiversMummel Escarpment Known None
Hunter-Central RiversTomalla Known None
Hunter-Central RiversUpper Hunter Known
Hunter-Central RiversWalcha Plateau Known None
Hunter-Central RiversWollemi (Part B) Known None
Hunter-Central RiversWyong Known None
Hunter-Central RiversYengo Known None
MurrayNew South Wales Alps Known None
MurrumbidgeeBondo Known
MurrumbidgeeKybeyan - Gourock Predicted
MurrumbidgeeNew South Wales Alps (Part B) Predicted
NamoiPeel Known East of the New England Highway
NamoiWalcha Plateau Predicted None
Northern RiversArmidale Plateau Known within 5 km Styx River SF
Northern RiversCarrai Plateau Known None
Northern RiversCataract Known None
Northern RiversChaelundi Known None
Northern RiversClarence Lowlands Known None
Northern RiversClarence Sandstones Known None
Northern RiversCoffs Coast & Escarpment Known None
Northern RiversComboyne Plateau Known None
Northern RiversDalmorton Known None
Northern RiversGuy Fawkes Known None
Northern RiversMacleay Gorges Known None
Northern RiversMacleay Hastings Known None
Northern RiversMurwillumbah (Qld - Southeast Hills and Ranges) Known None
Northern RiversNortheast Forest Lands Known None
Northern RiversRichmond - Tweed (Qld - Scenic Rim) (Part A) Known None
Northern RiversRichmond - Tweed (Qld - Scenic Rim) (Part B) Known None
Northern RiversRocky River Gorge Known None
Northern RiversStanthorpe Plateau Known None
Northern RiversUpper Manning Known None
Northern RiversWalcha Plateau Known None
Northern RiversWashpool Known None
Northern RiversWoodenbong Known None
Northern RiversYuraygir Known None
Southern RiversBateman Known None
Southern RiversBungonia Known None
Southern RiversBurragorang Known
Southern RiversEast Gippsland Lowlands (Part A) Known None
Southern RiversEast Gippsland Lowlands (Part B) Known None
Southern RiversEast Gippsland Lowlands (Part C) Known None
Southern RiversEttrema Known None
Southern RiversIllawarra Known None
Southern RiversJervis Known None
Southern RiversKybeyan - Gourock (Part A) Known None
Southern RiversKybeyan - Gourock (Part B) Known None
Southern RiversMoss Vale Known None
Southern RiversSouth East Coastal Plains Known None
Southern RiversSouth East Coastal Ranges (Part C) Known None
Sydney MetroPittwater (Part B) Known
Sydney MetroSydney Cataract Known None