Masked Owl


The Masked Owl is rufous to white speckled with darker brown below, the upper part of its body can vary from blackish-brown to grey-white, with grey and white spots.The distingushing facial disc is chestnut to white, edged with a dark ring.

The female is larger than the male but both look very similar. They are territorial and stay within their home range all year round.

Young birds are for the first 12 months very light in colour, as they mature they start to resemple the adult birds.

They are the largest Tyto owl and the second largest of Australias night birds.

They feed mainly on mammals which include bandicoots, rodents, possums and gliders as well as birds and reptiles. They sit quietly on a low branch and listen for prey, considering that these magnificent owls can hear the heart beat of a mouse at 20meters nothing much escapes their attention.

The Masked Owl inhabits woodlands, forests, timbered waterways and open country on the fringe of these areas as long as they have tall trees with hollows used for nesting.

They nest deep in the hollow of a tree, the nest is lined with soil or soft wood mulch. The eggs are incubated by the female and once hatched she will tear the prey, delivered by the male, apart to feed their chicks. Breeding can take place at any time of the year as long as food is plentiful.

Loss of habitat including large trees with hollows used for nesting, decline of small mammals, land clearing and fire regime, all play a part as to why these birds are in decline and listed as vulnerable.


Pizzey, G. and Knight, F. 1997. Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. Angus and Robertson, Sydney.

Schodde, R. and Tideman, S.C. (eds) 1990. Reader's Digest Complete Book of Australian Birds (2nd Edition). Reader's Digest (Australia) Pty Ltd, Sydney.






©Wildlife Mountain 2000 - 2017


We would also like to acknowledge the amazing support and help we have had from the Lismore Vet Clinic who have been an invaluable support to both us and the native wildlife of this region.

All native birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles are proteced under the Wildlife Act 1975, they may not be captured or harmed in any way without an authority issued under the Wildlife Act.