Bismarck Masked-owl (Tyto aurantia)

Bismarck Masked-owl

[order] STRIGIFORMES | [family] Tytonidae | [latin] Tyto aurantia | [authority] Salvadori, 1881 | [UK] Bismarck Masked-owl | [FR] Effraie doree | [DE] Goldeule | [ES] Lechuza Dorada | [NL] Nieuw Britain Kerkuil


Monotypic species


The genus Tyto includes all barn-owls (family Tytonidae) except for the bay-owls (subfamily Phodilinae, genus Phodilus) – that is, the true barn-owls, the grass-owls and the masked-owls collectively making up the subfamily Tytoninae. They are darker on the back than the front, usually an orange-brown colour, the front being a paler version of the back or mottled, although there is considerable variation even amongst species. Tyto owls have a divided, heart-shaped facial disc, and lack the ear-like tufts of feathers found in many other owls. Tyto owls tend to be larger than Bay-owls.

Physical charateristics

Much like other Tyto. It has a golden buffed plumage, above more dark, below less dark. The plumage is darkish mottled. Female is similar bu somewhat larger.

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 27 cm size max.: 33 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 0   eggs min.: 0  
      eggs max.: 0  


Australasia : Bismarck Archipelago


It appears to be a lowland forest species but one specimen was taken at 1,000 m and one bird believed to be this species was heard at 2,000 m3. The two recent sightings were in forest edge, so it may tolerate degraded forest.


No data

Feeding habits

No much information, one speciemen had a small rodent in its stomach.


This very poorly known species has been reclassified as Vulnerable because there has been extensive deforestation within its range. This is thought to have caused its already small population to decline. However more observations are needed to confirm these trends and this species’s habitat requirements.
Tyto aurantia is endemic to the island of New Britain in Papua New Guinea. It is known from very few specimens and just two recent sightings. Tyto owls have become prehistorically extinct through unknown causes on the adjacent islands of Mussau and New Ireland3. However, as with other congeners, it is likely to be overlooked and it may prove to be not uncommon and tolerant of logged forest
Bismarck Masked-owl status Vulnerable


Presumed sedentary

Distribution map

Bismarck Masked-owl distribution range map

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