Masked Owl in Broadmeadow

Subject: Masked Owl in Broadmeadow
From: "Ákos Lumnitzer" <>
Date: Fri, 4 May 2012 10:09:07 +1000
Hi birders

I believe that the reported Masked Owl from Broadmeadow is in fact an
Eastern Barn Owl based on a number of different features.

The plumage of the wing is very similar to all the EBOs I have observed
and photographed. Masked Owls appear to have, what I call, more
"chequered" plumage of the wings.

The shape of the facial disc is hard to tell when the owl is roosting, as
Tytonid owls seem to pull their faces into these odd, almost triangular
shapes. However, there should be darker markings near the front of the
eyes towards the bill, albeit that is rather variable.

A great identifying feature which I just learned from Matthew Stanton
after a telephone discussion is the white spots with the dark outlines on
the owls' wings. In the Broadmeadow Owl the white spots have a dark
outline with a distinct black spot near the top. In a Masked Owl the black
spot is very diffused.

Matthew and I also agreed that the legs/feet look small and he also said
that the feathering should go further down the leg towards the feet.
Another distinct EBO feature is the grey crown - visible, albeit not so
well in the Birdline photo.

So according to my expert friend the owl does indeed appear to be a
roosting Eastern Barn Owl.

Nevertheless, an awesome bird to roost in one's backyard.

Just for comparison, here is a link to my Tytonid owl gallery (sorry, more
EBO than MO on show).

Best regards and happy birding...


Ákos Lumnitzer


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