What do they look like? The Barking Owl is a medium-sized (35 to 45 cm) hawk-owl. The head is almost entirely grey-brown, and the eyes are large and yellow. Hawke Owls have distinctive circular discs around the eyes which is an indication that they hunt by sight.
Where do they live? Barking Owls are most common in savannah woodland, although they also inhabit well-forested hill and riverside woodlands. They are widely distributed throughout Australia, but are absent from central areas. Barking Owls are more often heard than seen (typical of most nocturnal birds). They have a distinct preference to be close to water.
What do they eat? The Barking Owl feeds on a variety of small to medium-sized mammals, birds, reptiles and insects. Prey is located either from the air or from an exposed perch. Most hunting is performed in the first few hours of the night and the last hours before dawn. Occasionally, birds may even be seen hunting in daylight.
Behaviour: Extremely characteristic, loud and remarkably dog-like double bark, ‘wuf wuf’ or ‘wuk wuk’. Calls are usually given at dusk and dawn, often in yapping choruses between male and female which may go on for several minutes.
Reproduction: Barking Owls breed from August to October each year. A single brood of two to three young is raised in a season. The nest site is an open hollow in a tree trunk. The young hatch after about one month and leave the nest after a further 40 to 50 days.
Threats: Since barking owls are hollow-nesting, numbers have declined in some areas through clearing of native vegetation, loss of hollows and the impact of introduced predators.
Conservation Status: Barking Owls are considered common and widespread.