The Boobook Owl (Ninox boobook) is Australia’s smallest owl (about 30cm tall) and is named after its distinctive two note “boo–book” call. It is dark brown in colour with vertical white flecks on its chest and is common throughout much of south eastern Australia, including Banyule. It is related to Australia’s largest owl, the Powerful Owl (Ninox strenua; up to 60 cm tall). Boobooks hunt insects and small vertebrates during the night and spend the day roosting in dense vegetation or a tree hollow as seen in the photo below..
Boobooks nest in tree hollows towards the end of the year and typically raise two or three young that emerge in summer. The photo at the top of the article shows two owlets on the left and an adult on the right. Boobook owlets are fluffy and white with darker markings around their eyes and make a repeated trilling sound that can easily be mistaken for an insect. Boobook owlet trilling can be distinguished from an insect because the source moves rapidly around the treetops. Owlets are much less watchful than their parents so listening for their trilling on a summer night is a good way to locate a family of Boobooks. The photo below shows two owlets and their parents on a television antenna in Viewbank.