Morepork (Ninox novaeseelandiae)


[order] STRIGIFORMES | [family] Strigidae | [latin] Ninox novaeseelandiae | [authority] Gmelin, 1788 | [UK] Morepork | [FR] Ninox boubouk | [DE] Kuckuckskauz | [ES] Ninox Maori | [NL] Boeboekuil


Monotypic species


Members of the genus Ninox are hawk owls, ranging from small to large, with rounded heads without ear-tufts. They have long, pointed wings and a long tail. The nostrils are forward facing on an enlarged cere in an indistinct facial disk. There are at least 20 species in this genus, from Siberia through much of the Pacific rim, South-east Asia and Australasia.

Physical charateristics

Plumage is dark chocolate-brown above and rufous-brown below, heavily streaked and spotted with white. The bill is grey with a darker tip, and the feet are grey or yellow. The facial disc is chocolate brown and the eyes are large and yellowish. Tasmanian birds are smaller and more heavily spotted with white, while birds of the Cape York rainforests are slightly larger and darker

Listen to the sound of Morepork


Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 28 cm size max.: 29 cm
incubation min.: 29 days incubation max.: 31 days
fledging min.: 33 days fledging max.: 37 days
broods: 0   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 3  


Australasia : Tasmania, New Zealand


It occurs in most habitats with trees, ranging from deep tropical forests to isolated stands at the edges of arid zones, farmland, or alpine grasslands, but is most common in temperate woodland.


Nest is normally a tree hollow, which is usually sparsely lined with wood shavings, leaves and small twigs, but may be left bare. The female alone incubates the eggs, but both sexes, and sometimes a second female helper, feed the young. In most instances two eggs are laid; incubation takes about a month and the young leave the nest some five weeks later.

Feeding habits

It feeds on insects, small mammals, birds and lizards. Feeding takes place mostly at night but crespecular activity may occur. Most prey is detected by listening and watching from a suitable high perch. Once detected, flying prey, such as moths and small bats, are seized in mid-air, while ground-dwelling prey animals are pounced upon.

Video Morepork


copyright: Josep del Hoyo


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Morepork status Least Concern


Mainly resident. Some winter dispersal suspected.

Distribution map

Morepork distribution range map

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