Minahassa Masked Owl (Tyto inexspectata)

Minahassa Masked Owl

[order] STRIGIFORMES | [family] Tytonidae | [latin] Tyto inexspectata | [authority] Schlegel, 1879 | [UK] Minahassa Masked Owl | [FR] Effraie de Minhassa | [DE] Minahassaeule | [ES] Lechuza de Minahassa | [NL] Minahassakerkuil


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Tyto inexspectata AU n Sulawesi


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

Medium-small, forest-dwelling owl. Light rusty facial disk. Rusty upperparts speckled black, rusty-cream underparts spotted black, wings barred black and rufous. Finely barred tail. Nuchal area and bend of wing darker than rest of plumage. Black iris. Similar spp. Sulawesi Owl T. rosenbergi is much larger, with dusky facial disc and upperparts finely spotted white. There are two morphs of this species, of which the darker is most difficult to differentiate from T. rosenbergi. Voice Single nasal, hoarse, hissing shriek lasting about 1.8 seconds and delivered infrequently every 5-7 minutes

wingspan min.: 24 cm wingspan max.: 25 cm
size min.: 28 cm size max.: 32 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 : North Sulawesi


It inhabits primary and lightly disturbed rainforest, rich with lianas, ferns, palms and epiphytic plants, and also, at least occasionally, disturbed riverine forest and forest edge, from 100 m to 1600 m.


Probably builds nest in tree cavity. Both parents care for the young after fledging. Breeds in april. No further data.

Feeding habits

No data


Given the continuing habitat destruction and degradation taking place in its range, the apparently small population of this elusive owl is likely to be declining and fragmented. As a result, it qualifies as Vulnerable.
Tyto inexspectata is endemic to Sulawesi, Indonesia, where it is known from 11 specimens collected on the Minahasa peninsula and north-central regions of the island, and a few subsequent records. It appears to be sparsely distributed, and has been described as very uncommon or rare. However, it is shy, easily overlooked, and consequently almost certainly commoner than records suggest. Numbers are likely to have declined steadily in line with ongoing habitat loss
Minahassa Masked Owl status Vulnerable


Presumed sedentary

Distribution map

Minahassa Masked Owl distribution range map

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