Many people are fascinated by owls since they are mysterious and attractive. The owls are usually mainly active at night and rest during the day. To study the owl life forest it is necessary to visit the forest at night when the owls are hunting their prey. The owls do not build nests like other birds, they mostly lay their eggs in the hollows of large trees which are usually found in forests. There are eleven different species of owls in Australia, mainly belonging to the Ninox and Tyto genus. They mainly feed on small marsupials like possums, gliders and large insects.
The Australian masked owl is the largest Tyto owl in the world and is found in Tasmania. The sooty owl is the heaviest Tyto owl, while the lesser sooty owl is smaller and closely related to it. The Eastern barn owl is related to the barn owl, which is one of the most common owls worldwide. The population of the barn owl depends on the rodent population and increases rapidly when the number of rodents increases. The Eastern Grass Owl is the only owl in Australia which lays its eggs in the ground and has long legs without feathers. It is found in northern and eastern Australia
The Southern Boobook is the smallest owl in Australia with a height of 25 cm and is also the most widespread. It has a distinctive boo-book double hoot and has a small territory. It feeds on small insects, in addition to birds and small animals. The Christmas Island Boobook is a related species that is only found on Christmas Island, It is rarely photographed and is reddish-brown. The Morepork is also related and has yellow eyes, and spotted body. The Barking owl has a distinctive barking sound Woof-woof and is found in the northern areas of Australia.
The Rufous owl is the second largest owl in Australia and is found in the northern forest region. The plumage is rufous colored. The largest owl in Australia is the powerful owl, scientific name Ninox Strenua. The size of an adult bird is 65 cm and the weight of the bird is typically 2.2 kg. The male is larger and heavier than the female owl. It has the distinction of being the top nocturnal predator in the territory where it lives. Typically the owls will eat different types of marsupials which are found in Australia like feathertail gliders, sugar gliders, greater gliders, ringtail possums, brushtail possums and koalas
The owls will hunt for their prey at night and roost on tree branches during the day, often with the remains of the prey which they have caught at night. They prefer to roost on tall trees. The powerful owl is usually found in Victoria, Queensland and South Australia. Compared to other owls the powerful owl has a large territory and will often attack those who intrude into the territory. The nests of the bird are found a large distance apart usually at least 5 km apart The male owl has a distinct whoo – hoo call, while the female owl has a similar call, though it is of a higher pitch.
The male powerful owl will form breeding pair with a female after it becomes an adult and the pair will live together. They will roost alone, in pairs or family groups. They nest in the hollows of large trees. Typically the female powerful owl will lay only one to three eggs at a time, and there is a gap of four days between each egg. The female owl will do all the incubation of the eggs and it will take approximately 38 days for each egg to hatch. It will take nine months for the young owl to become independent. The young owl will be initially accompanied by their parents until they fly well.
Though the powerful owl is not listed as an endangered species in Australian the conservation status may vary depending on the state. The powerful owl usually has no natural predators, though some owls may attack and kill each other in territorial skirmishes. They may be attacked by mobs of other birds like magpies, ravens, crows. However, a bigger problem is caused due to the loss of trees where the owls are nesting, which could lead to a reduction in the population. In the state of Victoria, the powerful owl is listed as threatened, and in New South Wales, the owl is scheduled as vulnerable.