Christmas Island Hawk Owl - Ninox natalis
Formerly a subspecies of Ninox squamipila
Calls - Ninox natalis
[For help with terms used in the description, see parts of an owl. For general characteristics common to most owl species, see owl physiology.]
Description: Resembles a small, red-brown Boobook Owl. The
breast is whitish and finely barred rufous, while the tail is dark brown with 10 rufous
bands. Bill is yellowish-grey and the eyes are yellow.
Size: Length 26-29cm. Wing length 178-183mm. Tail
length about 127mm. Weight 130-200g.
Habits: Frequently heard in evening and night. Hides in dense thickets or densely foliaged trees in middle canopy during the day.
Voice: The main call is similar to the Boobook Owl, being two
hoots, the second being slightly lower in pitch. This call is often repeated many times in
just a few minutes. In 1888, Lister described a call as a low "ow-ow-ow" like
the distant barking of a dog.
Other calls noted for these Owls include a shrill, trilling call given by begging young,
and a Chirring given by the female requesting food from her mate during courtship and
nesting. During courtship, the male gives a "Por Por" call when close to the
female. The "Kar Kar" call is made by the male when delivering food to the
female and nestlings.
Hunting & Food: The Christmas Island Hawk Owl eats mainly
insects, usually by snatching them from foliage. They have also been observed hawking for
insects around street lights. Other prey recorded include juvenile black rats, and small
lizards and birds.
Breeding: Little Known. Breeding season seem to be
prolonged, with records in all quarters of the year. Nests recorded have been in tree
hollows. Chicks take about 68 to 77 days from hatching to fledging, and are dependent on
their parents for at least 2.5 Months after that.
Habitat: They inhabit the tropical rainforest, monsoon forest and scrub
of Christmas Island.
Distribution: The Christmas Island Hawk-Owl is restricted to
Christmas Island, a 135 square kilometre (52 square mile) Australian territory in the
Indian Ocean, 360 kilometres (223.6 miles) south of Java.
Distribution of the Christmas Island Hawk Owl Ninox natalis
Status: Not under immediate threat.
Original Description: Lister, JJ. 1889. Proceedings of the Scientific Meetings of the Zoological Society of London for the Year 1888 (PZS): Pt. 4, p 525.
Hill, F.A. Richard & Lill, Alan. 1998. "Density and total population estimates for the threatened Christmas Island Hawk Owl Ninox natalis". EMU vol. 98, Part 3
Hill, F.A. Richard & Lill, Alan. 1998. "Vocalizations of the Christmas Island Hawk-Owl Ninox natalis: individual variation in advertisement calls". EMU vol. 98, Part 3
Hill, F.A. Richard & Lill, Alan. 1998. "Diet and roost site characteristics of the Christmas Island Hawk-Owl Ninox natalis". EMU vol. 98, Part 3
Page compiled by Deane Lewis. Page last updated 2015-04-05
OwlPages.com Owl Species ID: 240.180.000