Lifespan: Up to 20 years
Weight: Up to 510g
Height: Up to 45cm
Status: Not listed
The large, yellow eyes of the barking owl mark this bird as a type of hawk owl. Prey is hunted with keen eyesight and seized in powerful talons form the ground, from trees.
The barking owl hunts at twilight, searching its woodland habitat for mammals, reptiles, insects and even other birds. Prey up to the size of sulphur-crested cockatoos can be caught. Any food too big to be swallowed whole is torn up with the sharp, curved beak and eaten piece by piece.
Barking owls rely heavily on hollows in trees for nesting. Suitable nesting hollows can take hundreds of years to form. With the reduction of hollows around Australia, barking owl habitat is decreasing while nest hollow competition is increasing.
These owls are named for their ‘barking’ call but can also make a much louder, wailing cry, which has given rise to another name, the ‘screaming-woman bird’. Some believe the call of the owl to be the source of the Bunyip myth.”