The Owl Pages

Taliabu Masked Owl ~ Tyto nigrobrunnea


The Taliabu Masked Owl is a medium-sized owl with no ear-tufts. It is Also known as the Sula Island Masked Owl. Very little is known about this rare species.

Photo Gallery (2 pictures)

  • Taliabu Masked Owl
  • Taliabu Masked Owl


Description: The facial disc is pale reddish-brown, becoming darker towards the eyes. The rim is similar in colour. The eyes are blackish-brown, and the bill blackish-grey.
Upperparts are dark brown, with whitish speckles from the crown to the lower back and on the wing coverts. Primaries are uniform brown with whitish tips. The tail is brown with three darker bars.
Underparts are deep golden-brown with dark spots, with some of the spots having pale areas.
Legs are feathered reddish-brown to the lower third of the tarsi. The toes and the bare parts of the tarsi are grey. The claws are blackish.

Size: One specimen - Length 31cm. Wing length 283mm. Tail length 125mm. Weight unknown.

Habits: The Habits of the Taliabu Masked Owl are unknown.

Voice: A hissing sound typical of barn owls.

Hunting & Food: Unknown, probably similar to other barn owls.

Breeding: Unknown.

Habitat: One specimen was found in a lowland forest. More recent sightings have been in heavily logged forest and dense secondary bamboo thickets. It apparently occurs within a broad elevational range.

Distribution: Taliabu Island in the Sula Archipelago in the Moluccan Sea. May also be present on the nearby islands of Mangoli, Sulabes and Peleng.

Range of Taliabu Masked Owl (Tyto nigrobrunnea)
Range of the Taliabu Masked Owl Tyto nigrobrunnea

Status: Extremely rare, listed as Vulnerable by Birdlife International.

Original Description: Neumann, Oscar Rudolph. 1939. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club (BBOC) 59: p 89-90.

References: (may contain affiliate links)
BirdLife International. 2020. "IUCN Red List of Threatened Species". IUCN.
Boyer and Hume. 1991. "Owls of the World". BookSales Inc.
del Hoyo, Elliott & Sargatal. 1999. "Handbook of the Birds of the World: Barn Owls to Hummingbirds". Buteo Books.
Duncan, James R.. 2003. "Owls of the World: Their Lives, Behavior and Survival". Firefly Books.
König, Claus & Weick, Friedhelm. 2008. "Owls: A Guide to the Owls of the World (Second Edition)". Yale University Press.
Mikkola, Heimo. 2012. "Owls of the World: A Photographic Guide". Bloomsbury.
Rheindt, F. E.. 2010. "New biogeographic records for the avifauna of Taliabu (Sula Islands, Indonesia), with preliminary documentation of two previously undiscovered taxa". Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 130(1): 33-51.
Tyto nigrobrunnea at Xeno-canto.

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

Page by Deane Lewis. Last updated 2020-09-27. Copyright Information.