Southern Boobook by Helen Barnard

Ninox boobook

Southern Boobook owl on tree stump with Black and White Tiger Moth

Watercolour on paper

50 x 69cm (framed)


The Southern Boobook (or mopoke, morepork, ruru and boobook) (Ninox novaeseelandiae)

“Oh, they’re fairly common!”

How great is it to be able to make a comment like that about a species today!

They’re small, they’re comical – they’re the epitome of ‘cute’ and those eyes! The Boobook Owl does not have the distinctive facial disc or mask of other owls and this tends to accentuate their ‘cute factor’. If you hear a distinctive two pitch call, it usually means there’s one not too far from you.

In Tasmania, the Boobook is generally a darker more uniform chocolate brown, with white spots under and also spots on the wings. The iris of the eyes is bright yellow and these distinctive markings together with their expressive behaviors ie the ‘Bob Hawke Scowl’ make them an absolute joy to paint – even when they repeatedly mistake your fingers for caterpillars! So, a note to self – remove fingers next time!

Katherine Cooper, Hobart


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