Voices of some Australian Owls

Subject: Voices of some Australian Owls
From: Michael Todd <>
Date: Sat, 02 May 2009 13:22:39 +1000
Hello John and other owl-lovers,

I should know more about the Tassie Boobook situation than I do seeing
as I spend a significant amount of my time chasing owls in Tasmania,
however, they are usually a different species that I am chasing and
boobooks get put to the side.

I've just started making an effort to get some decent recordings of
Tasmanian Boobooks, however, I have no good "boobook" recordings as of
yet. To the casual ear (human ear) they sound the same as boobooks on
the mainland. Certainly they make many of the same calls. There is a
recording of the "boobook" call by Ron Nagorcka on David Stewart's CD
"Australian Bird Calls- Tasmania".

In the mid 1990's there was a series of playback surveys for forest owls
in Tasmania by Phil Bell and Jason Weirsma. They played back boobook
calls (probably mainland recordings) and got many responses. Mind you, I
can get responses just by imitating the "boobook" call so I don't know
that it means a lot. If you want I could try the playback experiment of
different boobook calls sometime in the next month.

They /look /different. The yellow iris is an obvious feature but the
pattern of plumage is a little different as well. They seem small. I
have some photos of Tassie Boobooks on my website (

I don't know enough about the red boobook to say much. I don't remember
them sounding different. I have photographed owls on the Atherton
Tableland that look more like your standard south-east Australia
boobook, and visa versa. One of the owls that bred next door to where I
lived at Toronto, central coast NSW looked more like a "red" boobook
than your standard boobook. I suspect that there is quite a bit of



Michael Todd
PhD Candidate- Tasmanian Masked Owl
School of Zoology, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 05, Hobart, Tasmania 7001
Mobile: O458 394676
FAX: (03) 6226 2745
Wildlifing (


Message: 4
Date: Fri, 1 May 2009 10:31:05 +1000
From: "John Penhallurick" <>
Subject: [Birding-Aus] Voices of some Australian Owls
To: <>
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/plain;       charset="iso-8859-1"

Dear Friends,

I have just (finally!) received my copy of the second edition (2008) of
König & Weick,Owls of the World.  I see that they split Tasmanian Boobok
Ninox leucopsis from Morepork Ninox novaeseelandiae and also Red Boobook
Ninox lurida from Southern Boobok Ninox boobook.  Of course, Christidis and
Boles (2008) Systematics and Taxonomy of Australian Birds,p.165 treat all
taxa in Australia and New Zealand as a single species.

König & Weick state in the Remarks section of Tasmanian
Boobok(p.460):”Formerly regarded as a race of Southern Boobook,but recent
studies of DNA evidence show a closer relationship to Morepork of New
Zealand.Its allopatric distribution from the latter and some external
similarity to its Australian counterpart suggest treating it as specifically
distinct from both.”

Does anyone have the call of Tasmanian Boobook. If so, could they send it to
me so that I can make a spectrogram and compare it with both Southern
Boobook and Morepork. Has anyone ever played the call of Morepork and/or
Southern Boobook to a Tasmanian Boobok in the breeding season?  What
response did you get?

In relation to Red Boobook,in the Remarks section on p.459 they
state:”Formerly regarded as a subspecies of Southern Boobook but differences
in morphology and vocalisations support specific separation.”

Again, does anyone have the call of Red Boobook. If so, could theys end it
to me so that I can make a spectrogram and compare it with both Southern
Boobook . Has anyone ever played the call of Southern Boobook to a Red
Boobok in the breeding season?  What response did you get?

Thanks for any information.

John Penhallurick

86 Bingley Cres

Fraser A.C.T. 2615



Phone: Home (612) 62585428


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