Boobook Owl

Boobook Owl at Wingham Wildlife Park

Boobook Owl Natural History

Size

Can grow between 25-36cm, with a weight of 170-360g.

Habitat and Distribution

The Boobook is found in many habitats from forest to desert in parts of Australia and southern New Guinea.

Diet

Mainly insects, but also mammals (bats & rodents), birds, lizards and frogs.

Groups and Breeding

Boobook’s breed between August – October normally in a tree cavity. They lay between 2-5 eggs which are incubated for 31-35 days, The young fledge at about 5 weeks but remain with the parents for a further 2-3 months.

Threats

The main threat for this species comes from human settlement in the form of habitat clearance, if the trees are cut down they will have no hollows in which to breed.  However not all habitat destruction is directly caused by humans.  Especially in drier parts of Australia, they are susceptible to becoming entangled in the havoc wreaked by forest fires, which may start out of nowhere or through the irresponsible discarding and use of items such as cigarettes, camp fires and fireworks.

Interesting facts

The southern boobook has almost 20 alternative common names.

The Boobook Owl During Your Day Out in Kent

At Wingham Wildlife Park we have got a single male Boobook owl which came to use from a private breeder.  Whilst he arrived with us as a bird which was supposed to have been reared by his parents, recent attempts to start training him to fly to a glove have shown that there is a fairly good chance that he was in fact reared by hand as he appears to be fairly well imprinted on humans.  It is our hope that in the future we may be able to integrate him in a small flying display which currently also has sun conures and laughing kookaburras (which share his home land of Australia), being trained for.