Re: ID this feather?

Subject: Re: ID this feather?
From: "Dean Portelli" <>
Date: Thu, 23 Oct 2003 16:33:21 +1000

I am not sure how far you have come with the identification of the feather as I have only recently caught up with this month's postings.

Your feather is definitely from an Owl, not a Tawny Frogmouth. I would conclusivley rule out the other suggestions of Sooty Owl and Powerful Owl as the colour and patterns are inconsistent. This leaves Barn Owl and Masked Owl as the two candidates.

You mention that you thought the feather was a breast feather, but it is a large contour feather from the dorsal of the bird's body, possibly the mantle or back area. Given the size and darkness of the distal end of the feather I would be ~90% confident in concluding it is a Masked Owl feather, rather than a Barn Owl. For it to be a Barn Owl feather I would expect it to be smaller and less dominated by dark pigment. (FYI the reason why I rule out Sooty Owl is the presence of the tawny colouration).

I have a habit of finding feathers in the field and one of my 'hobbies' in birdwatching is identifying the species. If you really want a positive ID then you could arrange to visit Museum collections and compare the feather with the specimens of the owls. If it is indeed a Masked Owl feather then you are very lucky, I haven't even seen the species let alone have a feather from one in my little collection of feathers!

Cheers, Dean

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