The Owl Pages

Golden Masked Owl ~ Tyto aurantia


The Golden Masked Owl is a relatively small barn owl with no ear-tufts. It is also known as the New Britain Masked Owl or New Britain Barn Owl.

Photo Gallery (1 picture)

  • Golden Masked Owl


Description: The facial disc is pale yellowish-brown, with a finely dark-speckled reddish-brown rim. Eyes are blackish-brown, and the bill is ashy-white. Plumage overall is pale golden-rufous, darker on the back. Primaries, secondaries and tail feathers have some dark brown bars, the primaries having a dark spot near the tips.
Upperparts have dark brown V-shaped markings which are rather large on the wing-coverts and back, but smaller on the hindneck and crown. Inside these V-shaped markings is a pale patch with a dark spot, with is prominent on the wing-coverts and back.
Underparts are slightly paler than upperparts, with dark brown, indistinctly heart-shaped spots.
Legs are long, feathered pale orange-brown down to the base of the bare toes which are yellowish-grey to brownish-grey. Claws are brown, becoming darker towards the tip.

Size: Length 27-33cm. Wing Length 220-230mm. Tail Length around 99mm. Weigh unknown.

Habits: Unknown

Voice: Utters a long ascending ka-ka repeated about 6 times per second. Hissing and screeching notes are also reported.

Hunting & Food: Feeds on small rodents. Likely takes other small vertebrates and insects.

Breeding: The breeding biology of the Golden Masked Owl is unknown.

Habitat: Tropical rainforest with clearings, ravines with trees and shrubs. Found from lowlands up to about 1830m above sea level.

Distribution: Endemic to the island of New Britain in Papua New Guinea.

Range of Golden Masked Owl (Tyto aurantia)
Range of the Golden Masked Owl Tyto aurantia

Status: Uncommon to rare, Listed as vulnerable by Birdlife International.

Original Description: Salvadori, Tomaso. 1881. Atti Reale Accademia della Scienze di Torino, 16, p. 94-95.

References: (may contain affiliate links)
BirdLife International. 2020. "IUCN Red List of Threatened Species". IUCN.
International Ornithological Congress. 2023. "IOC World Bird List - Owls".
König, Claus & Weick, Friedhelm. 2008. "Owls: A Guide to the Owls of the World (Second Edition)". Yale University Press.
Tyto aurantia at Xeno-canto.

See also: Other owls from Oceania, Genus: Tyto.

Page by Deane Lewis. Last updated 2022-07-22. Copyright Information.