Boobook v Hawk-Owl

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Boobook v Hawk-Owl
From: Phil & Sue Gregory <>
Date: Sat, 7 May 2011 19:08:45 +1000
Interesting thread about Boobooks and Lesser Sooty Owls; I have been pushing for the use of Boobook for the various small Ninox owls, instead of the widely used essentially American alternative Hawk-Owl, which invites confusion with both Hawk Owl (Surnia) and Papuan Hawk- Owl (Uroglaux).

Boobook is distinctive, commonly used the areas where the species occur and hopefully makes things less confusing, so there has been some movement and we have been seeing Brown Boobook appearing in lieu of Brown Hawk Owl for example. However what do you then do with the other larger Ninox- Powerful, Rufous and Barking owls? I'd say keep the prevailing usage and don't start calling them boobooks as well, but the IOC have been proactive and gone for all the Ninox as Boobooks, except of course for Morepork (which some lump with Southern Boobook despite the very distinct vocalizations).

This has resulted in confusion with the lurida taxon of Southern Boobook too, which Weick et al split- I don't have the book here with me at present so I can't recall what they call it ( I do recall they unfortunately use Hawk-Owl though), but Rufous Owl = Rufous Boobook is certainly very confusing and I'd argue for the status quo with Powerful, Rufous and Barking Owl- if it ain't broke don't fix it!
Phil Gregory

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