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Northern Boobook

Ninox japonica

Length: 11-13 inches Wingspan: 28 inches Seasonality: Non-resident in South Dakota
ID Keys: Hawk-like structure, no obvious facial disks, dark brown overall, barred tail, light plumage below with brown streaks

Northern Boobook - Ninox japonicaThe Northern Boobook (also known as the Brown Hawk Owl) is a unique looking owl of southern Asia, with a normal range from India eastward to Indonesia and southern China.  They are known in North America only by a pair of records, both in Alaskan islands, where a bird was photographed on St. Paul Island in 2007, and a dead bird was found on Kiska Island in 2008. The name "Brown Hawk Owl" refers to the very hawk-like appearance of the species, with a longer tail and more upright, slender appearance than most owls.

Habitat: Found in forested habitats, including lowland rainforests, mangrove swamps, and also wooded urban areas and parks.

Diet: Feeds on frogs, lizards, small birds, small rodents, and large insects.

Behavior: Nocturnal, hunting only at night.  When found on their daytime perches, they usually stretch their bodies as thin as possible and remain motionless, in an attempt to remain hidden.

Nesting: The nest of a Northern Boobook is in the cavity of a tree. The female lays between 3 and 5 eggs.  The female alone incubates the eggs, with the male bringing food during the incubation period.  Both parents feed the young once they hatch.  The young fledge after about 4 weeks.

Song: Call of a Northern Boobook is a soft ooo-ook, repeated a number of times.

Migration: Considered a permanent resident throughout their range.

Interactive eBird map: Click here for an interactive eBird map of Northern Boobook sightings

Similar Species: Not likely to be confused with another species if one should again stray to North America.

Conservation Status: Populations appear to be stable, and the IUCN lists the Northern Boobook as a species of "least concern".

Further Information: 1) BirdLife International - Northern Boobook

2) Northern Boobook - The Owl Pages

3) Account of Northern Boobook found on Kiska Island in Alaska

Photo Information: Photo taken by Vijay Anand Ismavel - May 20th, 2013 - Makunda Christian Hospital, Karimganj District, Assam, India - Photo licensed under Creative CommonsAttribution Non-Commercial ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.

Additional Photos: Additional Photos Coming Soon!!


Click below for a higher-resolution map
Northern Boobook - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Non-resident in South Dakota

Additional Northern Boobook Photos (coming soon!!)