Nature conservation

Threatened species

Masked Owl - profile

Indicative distribution


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Key:
known
predicted
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 novaehollandiae
Conservation status in NSW: Vulnerable
Commonwealth status: Not listed
Profile last updated: 01 Dec 2017

Description

A medium-sized owl to 40 - 50 cm long, with dark eyes set in a prominent flat, heart-shaped facial disc that is encircled by a dark border. The feet are large and powerful, with fully feathered legs down to the toes. The owl exists in several colour forms, with wide variation in plumage. The upperparts are grey to dark brown with buff to rufous mottling and fine, pale spots. The wings and tail are well barred. The underparts are white to rufous-brown with variable dark spotting. The palest birds have a white face with a brown patch around each eye; the darkest birds have a chestnut face. The dark form of the Masked Owl is much browner than the Sooty Owl Tyto tenebricosa.

Distribution

Extends from the coast where it is most abundant to the western plains. Overall records for this species fall within approximately 90% of NSW, excluding the most arid north-western corner. There is no seasonal variation in its distribution.

Habitat and ecology

  • Lives in dry eucalypt forests and woodlands from sea level to 1100 m.
  • A forest owl, but often hunts along the edges of forests, including roadsides.
  • The typical diet consists of tree-dwelling and ground mammals, especially rats.
  • Pairs have a large home-range of 500 to 1000 hectares.
  • Roosts and breeds in moist eucalypt forested gullies, using large tree hollows or sometimes caves for nesting.

Regional distribution and habitat

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


Threats

Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
Australian AlpsSnowy Mountains Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthLiverpool Plains Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthLiverpool Range Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthMoonie-Barwon Interfluve Predicted None
Brigalow Belt SouthNarrandool Predicted None
Brigalow Belt SouthNorthern Basalts Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthPilliga Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthPilliga Outwash Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthTalbragar Valley Predicted None
Broken Hill ComplexBarrier Range Predicted None
Broken Hill ComplexBarrier Range Outwash Predicted None
Broken Hill ComplexMootwingee Downs Predicted None
Broken Hill ComplexScopes Range Predicted None
Cobar PeneplainBarnato Downs Predicted None
Cobar PeneplainBoorindal Plains Predicted None
Cobar PeneplainCanbelego Downs Known None
Cobar PeneplainLachlan Plains Known None
Cobar PeneplainNymagee Predicted None
Darling Riverine PlainsBogan-Macquarie Known None
Darling Riverine PlainsCastlereagh-Barwon Known None
Darling Riverine PlainsMenindee Predicted None
Darling Riverine PlainsWarrambool-Moonie Predicted None
Darling Riverine PlainsWilcannia Plains Known None
Mulga LandsParoo-Darling Sands Predicted None
Mulga LandsWhite Cliffs Plateau Predicted None
Murray Darling DepressionDarling Depression Predicted None
Murray Darling DepressionSouth Olary Plain Predicted None
NandewarKaputar Predicted None
NandewarNandewar Northern Complex Predicted None
NandewarPeel Known None
New England TablelandsArmidale Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsBeardy River Hills Predicted None
New England TablelandsBinghi Plateau Predicted None
New England TablelandsBundarra Downs Predicted None
New England TablelandsEastern Nandewars Known None
New England TablelandsEbor Basalts Known None
New England TablelandsGlenn Innes-Guyra Basalts Predicted None
New England TablelandsMoredun Volcanics Predicted None
New England TablelandsNightcap Known None
New England TablelandsNortheast Forest Lands Known None
New England TablelandsRound Mountain Predicted None
New England TablelandsSevern River Volcanics Predicted None
New England TablelandsStanthorpe Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsTenterfield Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsTingha Plateau Predicted None
New England TablelandsWalcha Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsWongwibinda Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsYarrowyck-Kentucky Downs Predicted None
NSW North CoastBarrington Known None
NSW North CoastCarrai Plateau Known None
NSW North CoastCataract Known None
NSW North CoastChaelundi Known None
NSW North CoastCoffs Coast and Escarpment Known None
NSW North CoastComboyne Plateau Known None
NSW North CoastDalmorton Known None
NSW North CoastEllerston Known None
NSW North CoastGuy Fawkes Known None
NSW North CoastKaruah Manning Known None
NSW North CoastMacleay Gorges Known None
NSW North CoastMacleay Hastings Known None
NSW North CoastMummel Escarpment Known None
NSW North CoastRocky River Gorge Known None
NSW North CoastTomalla Known None
NSW North CoastUpper Hunter Known None
NSW North CoastUpper Manning Known None
NSW North CoastWashpool Known None
NSW North CoastYuraygir Known None
NSW South Western SlopesCapertee Valley Known None
NSW South Western SlopesInland Slopes Known None
NSW South Western SlopesLower Slopes Predicted None
OceanHawkesbury Shelf Known None
OceanManning Shelf Known None
OceanSouth Pacific Ocean Known None
Other StateACT Known None
Other StateJervis Bay Territory Known None
Other StateQLD Known None
Other StateSA Known None
Other StateVIC Known None
Pacific Subtropical IslandsLord Howe Island Known None
RiverinaLachlan Predicted None
RiverinaMurray Fans Known None
RiverinaMurrumbidgee Known None
South East CornerBateman Known None
South East CornerEast Gippsland Lowlands Known None
South East CornerSouth East Coastal Ranges Known None
South Eastern HighlandsBathurst Known None
South Eastern HighlandsBondo Known None
South Eastern HighlandsBungonia Known None
South Eastern HighlandsCapertee Uplands Known None
South Eastern HighlandsHill End Known None
South Eastern HighlandsKanangra Known None
South Eastern HighlandsKybeyan-Gourock Known None
South Eastern HighlandsOberon Predicted None
South Eastern QueenslandBurringbar-Conondale Ranges Known None
South Eastern QueenslandClarence Lowlands Known None
South Eastern QueenslandClarence Sandstones Known None
South Eastern QueenslandScenic Rim Known None
South Eastern QueenslandSunshine Coast-Gold Coast Lowlands Known None
South Eastern QueenslandWoodenbong Known None
Sydney BasinBurragorang Known None
Sydney BasinCumberland Known None
Sydney BasinEttrema Known None
Sydney BasinHunter Known None
Sydney BasinIllawarra Known None
Sydney BasinJervis Known None
Sydney BasinKerrabee Known None
Sydney BasinPittwater Known None
Sydney BasinSydney Cataract Known None
Sydney BasinWollemi Known None
Sydney BasinWyong Known None
Sydney BasinYengo Known None