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Rufous owl

Ninox rufa
(Photo from Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
rufous owl (en); coruja-ruiva (pt); ninoxe rousse (fr); nínox rojizo (es); rostkauz (de)

Order Strigiformes
Family Strigidae

This species is found in northern Australia, New Guinea and the Aru Islands.

These birds are 46-57 cm long and have a wingspan of 100-120 cm. Females tend to be smaller than male, weighing 700-1.050 g while males weigh 1.050-1.300 g.

These birds are found in rainforests, gallery forests, forested gulleys, forest edges and wooded savannas. They are found from sea level up to an altitude of 2.000 m.

These powerful hunters take a wide range of prey, from large insects like beetles and phasmids, to large birds including brush-turkeys, scrubfowl, frogmouths, kookaburras, white cockatoos, herons, ducks and parrots. They are also known to eat flying foxes and crayfish.

Rufous owls breed in June-September. They nest in a large hollow in the trunk or in a large branch, most often in a dead tree up to 30 m above the ground. The female lays 1-2 dull white eggs, which she incubates alone for 36-38 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge about 50 days after hatching, but continue to depend on the parents for several months after fledging, and can remain with the parents until the next breeding season.

IUCN status – LC (Least concern)
This species has a large breeding range but is reported to be uncommon to rare. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction by the clearing of forests and increasing numbers of forest fires, and unsustainable levels of hunting.

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