Downfall Creek Reserve, Brisbane
11, see text
| N.b.boobook, N.b.ocellata,|
N.b. plesseni, N.b.rotiensis,
The southern boobook (Ninox boobook) is a species of owl native to mainland Australia, southern New Guinea, the island of Timor, and the Sunda Islands. Described by John Latham in 1801, it was generally considered to be the same species as the morepork of New Zealand until 1999. Its name is derived from its two-tone boo-book call. Eleven subspecies of the southern boobook are recognized, despite evidence that four have calls and genetics distinctive enough to warrant separate species status.
The smallest owl on the Australian mainland, the southern boobook is 27 to 36 cm (10.5 to 14 in) long, with predominantly dark-brown plumage with prominent pale spots. It has grey-green or yellow-green eyes. It is generally nocturnal, though is sometimes active at dawn and dusk, retiring to roost in secluded spots in the foliage of trees. The southern boobook feeds on insects and small vertebrates, hunting by pouncing on them from tree perches. Breeding takes place from late winter to early summer, using tree hollows as nesting sites. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has assessed the southern boobook as being of least concern on account of its large range and apparently stable population.