Rufous Owl (Ninox rufa)

Rufous Owl

[order] STRIGIFORMES | [family] Strigidae | [latin] Ninox rufa | [authority] Gould, 1846 | [UK] Rufous Owl | [FR] Ninox roux | [DE] Rostkauz | [ES] Ninox Rojizo | [NL] Rosse Valkuil


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

A relatively small head and long tail. Blackish facial disc, dark rufous back with fine light brown bars. Underparts white to buff, heavily barred rufous-brown. Ywllow eyes, bill grey. Plumage male and female similar, female smaller.

Listen to the sound of Rufous Owl

[audio: Owl.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 105 cm wingspan max.: 125 cm
size min.: 40 cm size max.: 52 cm
incubation min.: 36 days incubation max.: 38 days
fledging min.: 50 days fledging max.: 55 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 3  


Australasia : New Guinea, North Australia


Rufous Owl lives in upland and lowland rainforests, wooded savannahs, gallery forests, forested gullies, forest edges along watercourses.


Nest usually in cavity of dead large tree. It is build up to 20 meter above ground. The male prepares the nest. Clutch size is 2 eggs, incubated by the female for about 36 to 38 day. Young fledge about 50 days after hatching, and stay in the vicinity of parents for several months after fledging. Young usually stay until sart of new breeding season.

Feeding habits

Insects are taken from foliage, but it also takes preys from ground. It often hunts in open areas adjoining forests. It hunts by swooping, gliding through canopy, in order to catch arboreal mammals and birds at roost. It can snatch preys from foliage in flight, perform aerial chases, or by hawking as a large flycatcher

Video Rufous Owl


copyright: Rigdon Currie


This species has a very 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). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to 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.
Rufous Owl status Least Concern


Presumed resident

Distribution map

Rufous Owl distribution range map

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