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Southern Boobook

Ninox novaeseelandiae


The Southern Boobook, often referred to as 'Mopoke' after its call, is Australia's smallest owl, and this is my first encounter with the species. I thought at first it was a Tawny Frogmouth, but when it turned its head towards me, its facial features became apparent. It's not a large bird, reaching a max. size of about 28 cms, but like other owl species, the Southern Boobook is nocturnal. I couldn't get close due to foliage, but the closer I got, its eyes bulged accordingly. I didn't want to spook it so had to keep a respectful distance. Friends of mine that know this species have told me this is a very fortunate find. Apparently, to see one in the wild during daylight hours is a rarity. Lucky me.


Beneath the canopy of a small tree, amongst dense undergrowth. Larger trees such as blackbutts and red gums overshadowed the entire area. Spotted in the Cumberland State Forest, in Sydney's northwest. It's currently lush, green, and well forested. Here's some park info:


Crap photos again. I can't keep blaming the camera :-/

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Neil Ross
Neil Ross 6 years ago

Thanks, Josh and Mary. I feel very fortunate to have seen this fellow. Yeah I don't think those eyes could have bulged much more without popping out. 6 years ago

I like the third picture of the owl's bulging eyes. a look of total surprise! Thanks for sharing.

JoshuaGSmith 6 years ago


Neil Ross
Spotted by
Neil Ross

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Spotted on Feb 16, 2015
Submitted on Feb 18, 2015

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