Rare owl found in the Hunter

Aussie Ark is over the moon with the discovery of one of the second-largest nocturnal birds in Australia living in their Barrington wildlife sanctuary.

After 13 years of nocturnal surveys in the area, it’s the first time the endangered masked owl has been sighted.

The owl’s population has been decimated by lack of food, destruction of habitat and nest sites and the ingestion of poisoned bait.

Managing director Tim Faulkner says he’s thrilled with the find and will be working with Birdlife Australia over the next couple of months to confirm numbers.

He says the main food sources of the masked owl are bush rats, swamp rats, antechinus and bandicoots.

All these species naturally occur in the sanctuary and are also thriving thanks to the sanctuary’s feral-proof protection, offering the owls a wonderful smorgasbord and encouraging them to stay.

Photo: Barney Long at Rewild.