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Exciting new proposal for Tasmania's South East Cape


Award-winning local tourism operator Ian Johnstone can now progress a new project to lease and licence negotiations under the Tourism Opportunities in Tasmania's National Parks, Reserves and Crown Land process.More

Wineglass Bay track upgrade complete


One of Tasmania's most iconic tourism experiences, the walk to Wineglass Bay from the lookout to the beach, has now re-opened after a $500,000 upgrade initiated through the Government's Tourism Infrastructure in Parks fund.

Tourism opportunity for Tasman Island


Tourists could soon enjoy the beautiful Tasman National Park from the air, as a change to the management plan could open it up for sensitive and appropriate aircraft access.More

Masked Owl, Tyto novaehollandiae


Photo copyright Dave Watts
The Masked Owl is the largest of Tasmania's nocturnal birds, reaching 530mm. The upper parts are a blackish-brown with chestnut and orange barring, while the undersurface is rufous to white, speckled with dark brown. The conspicuous facial disc is chestnut to white, with a darker margin and darker around the bill and below the eyes.

Males and females are similar in colouring, though females are markedly larger. Tasmanian birds are considerably larger than their mainland counterparts.

The Tasmanian subspecies of the Masked Owl, T. n. castenops, is listed as endangered in Tasmania, as a result of habitat loss.


The Masked Owl is found singularly or in pairs in forests, woodlands, parks and adjacent open country. Masked Owls are territorial, and pairs remain in or near the territory all year round.


Masked Owls feed mainly on rodents, rabbits and small marsupials such as bandicoots. They will also take possums, reptiles, birds and insects. Hunting takes place in the early hours of night.


The nest is a bare chamber located deep in a tree hollow, lined with soil, sand or soft wood mulch. Two to three eggs are laid and are incubated by the female, while the male provides the food. The young birds remain in the vicinity of the nest and are fed by the parent birds for a further month after fledging.


The Masked owl has a loud, harsh screeching call. It is rarely heard. (Audio recordings courtesy of David Stewart/Nature Sound)
Distribution Map courtesy Natural Values Atlas, data from theLIST
© 2010 State of Tasmania


The Masked Owl occurs throughout coastal mainland Australia, although it is not common. It is also found in New Guinea and Indonesia.

In Tasmania, the species was once widespread and common, however numbers have decreased due to habitat loss. They are difficult to see in the wild.