The barking owl is similar to the Southern Boobook but lacks the distinctive mask of the boobook and is around 10cm larger.
The barking owl is similar to the Southern Boobook but lacks the distinctive mask of the boobook and is around 10cm larger.

BRIGGSY’S BIRDS: Bird barks like a dog and can scream too

The barking owl is a nocturnal bird that is generally active at night and roosts in a tree during the day.

It has large, yellow eyes that have a piercing stare and is coloured grey/brown above with white spots on the wing, and white underneath with brown vertical streaks. It has and large powerful feet with long talons and it gets its name from its call, which sounds like a dog barking.

During the breeding months of July to November, it also makes a blood- ­curdling screaming call that sounds like someone sobbing and wailing. It has earned the bird the nickname of "screaming woman bird".

You can listen to these calls at www.graemechap man.com.au/library/sounds .php?c=353&p=53

Barking owls feed on mammals, birds, reptiles and insects and sit on an exposed branch of a tree, using their amazing night vision to see prey on the ground or in the branches of adjacent trees.

Their eyes are very large in order to capture as much light as possible and see prey in the dark.

They prefer the fringes of forests and often roost near waterways or wetlands.

They nest in tree hollows and the loss of hollow- ­bearing trees has led to a ­decline of this species.

It is similar to the southern boobook but lacks the distinctive mask of the boobook and is around 10cm larger.

Several pairs are located throughout the Bundaberg area, including one pair at the botanical gardens.

You will need to look carefully in the shady areas under the canopy at the top of a tree, where they roost during the day.

Allan Briggs is the secretary of BirdLife Capricornia. You can contact him with your questions at abriggs@irock.com.au


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