Vol. 30 No. 3-text

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Journal of the
The object of the Club is to promote the study and conservation of Australian birds and the
habitats they occupy.
President Elisabeth Karplus
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Original articles and short notes on birds are invited for Australian Birds, especially
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Editor Peter Roberts
Production Stuart Fairbairn
Cover Pictures
Front Barking Owl Painting Steve Tredinnick
Back Barking Owl, Coongie Lakes Photo Stuart Fairbairn
Please address manuscripts to the Editor at:
33 Carlyle Rd, LINDFIELD 2070
ISSN 0311-8150
Printed by The Village Scribe, 56 Thompson Street, Drummoyne 2047THE BARKING OWL IN NEW SOUTH WALES
Zoology Department, University of New England, Armidale 2351
Records of the Barking Owl Ninox connivens (n=496) were collated, and associated
literature reviewed, in order to assess the Owl’s distribution, habitat, biology and status
in New South Wales. Pellets and prey remains were collected from the breeding territory
of one pair on the Northern Tablelands in 1996-97; the Owls’ breeding diet consisted of
mammals (49% by biomass, mostly arboreal marsupials), birds (50%) and insects (1%),
and their non -breeding diet arboreal mammals (53% by biomass), birds (46%) and insects
(1%). It is concluded that: (1) the Barking Owl typically inhabits woodland of various
red gum Eucalyptus species primarily in warmer, lowland areas of the coast, western
slopes and plains; (2) it requires dense riparian thickets for roosting and old eucalypts
for nesting; (3) it hunts in the woodland canopy and, although eating many birds and
insects, also eats mammals including arboreal/scansorial species where rabbit kittens
are unavailable; (4) habitat clearance in its likely core distribution and habitat, the fertile
riparian flats on private land in inland NSW, is severe and continuing. In view of its
apparent rarity and decline, and extreme threats to its remaining core habitat, it is
recommended that the Barking Owl be declared threatened in NSW.
The range and status of the Barking Owl Ninox connivens in New South Wales
have been given as “uncommon, all regions, absent extreme north-west” (Morris et al.
1981), with Taylor & COG (1992) claiming that the Owl is absent from the South Coast
despite prior published records from that region. It is considered to be generally sparser
or much scarcer than the Southern Boobook N. novaeseelandiae and rare in south-eastern
Australia (Schodde & Mason 1980, Hollands 1991), a situation confirmed by recent work
(e.g. Kavanagh & Peake 1993, Debus 1995 and in press, Kavanagh 1995, Kavanagh &
Bamkin 1995, Kavanagh et al. 1995a,b). Records in the Atlas of Australian Birds (Blakers
et al. 1984) show it to be more widespread in NSW than the Powerful Owl N. strenua, but
at a lower average reporting rate than that species. Olsen (in Strahan 1994) considered
the Barking Owl “now uncommon” in southern Australia, and destruction of woodland a
threat. Cooper & McAllan (1995) considered that the Barking Owl’s population has
been reduced in NSW through clearing of breeding habitat, yet it should be more common
than records suggest. Lindsey (1992) classified it as “possibly endangered” nationally. It
Australian Birds Vol 30 No.3 53is now classified as threatened in Victoria and South Australia (e.g. Robinson & Traill
1996) and in the Western Division of NSW (Smith et al. 1995), and is considered threatened
throughout the temperate woodlands of Australia, owing to massive loss of habitat
(Robinson 1994). All these assessments contrast with that of Gould (1843, 1865), who
received specimens from “nearly every part of [the colonies of] New South Wales” and
stated it to be “far more common” than the Powerful Owl.
While carrying out surveys for the supposedly rare large forest owls (Powerful, Sooty
Tyto tenebricosa and Masked Owls T novaehollandiae), Debus (1995) failed to fmd any
Barking Owls. Similarly, other owl surveys found the Barking Owl at only a few sites in
north-eastern NSW (NSW NPWS 1994, Kavanagh et al. 1995b). This situation prompted
a similar survey for the Barking Owl by the Zoology Department, University of New
England. Field work for that survey commenced in 1995, concentrating on the North-
west Slopes ofNSW. Meanwhile, concern was being expressed by others over the apparent
rarity and decline of the Barking Owl, particularly in inland NSW and the drier forests
and woodlands of Victoria, and its low numbers compared with records for the Powerful
Owl (Smith & Smith 1994; Smith et al. 1994, 1995; Robinson 1991, 1994; Harley 1995;
Morris & Burton 1995; Kavanagh et al. 1995a). The Barking Owl was also not recorded
during surveys for large forest owls in south-eastern NSW (Kavanagh & Peake 1993,
Kavanagh & Bamkin 1995), nor in forests of the Central -west and South-west Slopes
despite targeted surveys using Barking Owl call playback (Kavanagh 1995, Kavanagh &
Stanton in press). Kavanagh et al. (1995a) of the Owl’s
distribution and status in NSW, and posed questions regarding its status east versus west
of the Great Dividing Range and on private versus public land.
This paper reviews the distribution, status and biology of the Barking Owl in NSW,
particularly with respect to regional patterns, and presents new data on its diet. The paper
attempts, in part, to answer some of the questions posed by Kavanagh et al. (1995a).
Some preliminary findings of the UNE project are presented elsewhere (Kavanagh et al.
1995a, Debus in press).
Records of the Barking Owl in NSW to 1996 were collated from the literature,
museums (Australian Museum [AM], Museum of Victoria H.L. White Collection [MV/
HLW], Australian National Wildlife Collection [ANWC, CSIRO, Canberra]), the RAOU
Atlas of Australian Birds and Nest Record Scheme, mapped NSW Bird Atlassers’ records
in Cooper & McAllan (1995), colleagues’ unpublished data, and personal sightings
(unpubl. records in Appendix 1). Literature records (Appendix 2) were obtained from the
54 July 1997following sources: Emu, Corella, Australian Bird Watcher, Australian Birds including
NSW FOC annual bird reports 1970-1994, Canberra Bird Notes, NSW FOC Newsletter
“unusual records” series by Morris & Chafer and Morris & Gladwin to December 1996,
NSW Bird Atlassers Newsletter, Cumberland Bird Observers Club Newsletter, and books,
reports and other publications (Gould 1843, 1865; North 1911; Mathews 1915-1916;
Fleay 1968; Wheeler 1974 [sufficiently precise locations]; Rolls 1981; Morris 1984; Gibson
1989; Davey 1993). Some records were reported by more than one source, therefore care
was taken not to double -count records. One record was taken as one bird at one locality
in one year (i.e. two birds = two records); fledglings were counted but nestlings were not.
As far as possible, the same range of sources was used as for the Powerful Owl (Debus &
Chafer 1994 and subsequently published FOC records), so that the results for both owl
species are comparable.
Owl sites were located on topographic maps and assigned to the botanic provinces of
Anderson (1961). A “site” was taken as a record or cluster of records assumed to represent
a single occupied home range.
Regurgitated pellets from one site (Boorolong Creek west of Armidale) were analysed by
A.B. Rose, and prey remains from there and another site (Puddledock north-east of
Armidale) were identified by comparison with reference material. The minimum number
of prey individuals in each pellet sample was determined by counting skeletal parts.
Distribution and habitat
The Barking Owl has indeed been recorded in all the regions of NSW (as defined
by Anderson 1961 and adopted by McAllan & Bruce 1989). A record for Sturt National
Park (Appendix 1) shows that it is not absent from the extreme north-west (contra Morris
et al. 1981), though it must be sparse and local, at favourable sites, in the arid zone (see
Figure 1). Recent records show that it is not “accidental” to the South Coast (contra
Morris & Burton 1994); increased observer effort produced “more records S Coast than
usual” (Morris & Burton 1996), with recent owl surveys producing further records
(Appendix 1).
Available records (n=496, at 317 sites) show that the most important regions for the
Barking Owl are the coast (35% of sites), slopes (22%) and plains (27%), with fewer sites
on the tablelands (14%) and far western plains (3%) (Table 1, Figure 2). The combined
total for the slopes, plains and far west (51% of sites) suggests that the Owl is more
numerous west of the Divide than on the coast, given that bird -watching effort is probably
Australian Birds Vol 30 No.3 55153′
150° 151° 152°
141° 142° 143′ 144′ 45 146′ 147° 148′
ill -P
1′ I 33
Jew ri
111 ..1911 35′
-1M1 MOP NM 1011=i1 MIIIIIM1
SEEIN”. 36′
Figure 1. Distribution of the Barking Owl in New South Wales in ten-minute
grids, incorporating mapped records of Cooper & McAllan (1995). Ten records
not shown because exact localities unknown: Tweed, Richmond/Clarence and
Clarence Rivers; Wellington-Dubbo region; Quandialla 1 -degree block; Wagga
Wagga to Murray R (Appendix 1); Grafton district and Clarence R; Watling
drawing from Sydney; Lachlan/Murrumbidgee Rivers (Appendix 2).
56 July 1997much higher on the coast. That is, the probability of encountering Barking Owls seems
much higher per unit of observer effort west of the Divide than east.
The totals for each region probably in part reflect the relative sizes of the various regions;
the high observer density on the Central Coast and around Canberra (Southern Tablelands),
with the Central Tablelands also within easy reach of Central Coast observers; and recent
owl surveys particularly on the North and South Coasts. The relative importance of each
region, and any changes in the Owl’s status within those regions, are difficult to assess
because many historical records came from the Central -west Slopes and South-west Plains
(= Riverina) where there were resident ornithologists, whereas many Field Atlas and
NSW Bird Atlas records came from the North and Central Coasts and/or the North-west
Plains where the Owl (at least in recent decades) seems more numerous than elsewhere.
Apparent gaps in distribution coincide with the moist forests of the eastern fall of the
Northern Tablelands, and the higher elevations of the Southern Tablelands. It appears
that the Owl generally reaches its highest densities in the lowland, warmer (i.e. northerly)
regions with the strongest Torresian (tropical) influence. In far western NSW the Owl
generally appears restricted to the vicinity of the Darling River (Figure 1, cf. Figure 7 of
Cooper & McAllan 1995), with outlying occurrences on creeks within low ranges
(Mootwingee area and Sturt National Park). It seems to be absent from intervening dry
areas with ephemeral surface water (e.g. Peri Lake area between the Darling River and
Sturt National Park; P. & J. Smith pers. comm.).
80 –

cyn 60

40 –
20 –
Coast Tablelands Slopes Plains Far West
Figure 2. Number of NSW sites (total 317) with Barking Owl records, by bo-
tanic/moisture zone (after Anderson 1961 and McAllan & Bruce 1989).
Australian Birds Vol 30 No.3 57Barking Owl records exist for 21 state forests (26 sites) and 24 national parks and
equivalent reserves (29 sites; Appendices and 2). However, the Owl seems to avoid
the moist coastal and tableland wood -production forests, with most records in state
forests coming from lowland or floodplain open forest on the coast (e.g. forest red
gum Eucalyptus tereticornis), box/ironbark/cypress woodland on the western slopes
and plains, and river red gum E. camaldulensis woodland on the plains. Similarly,
most records for reserves come from dry, infertile coastal forest or from large wood-
land remnants on the western slopes and plains. As far as can be ascertained from the
data sources, most records (262 sites, 83%) appear to come from woodland on private
property or other unprotected land.
Table 1
Number of sites at which the Barking Owl has been recorded in New South Wales,
within the botanical regions defined by McAllan & Bruce (1989), from published
and unpublished records (Appendices 1 and 2). For clusters of records, a “site”
encompasses those assumed to refer to a single occupied owl territory.
Region n sites
North Coast 41 13
Central Coast 42 13
South Coast 28 9
Northern Tablelands 14 4
Central Tablelands 13 4
Southern Tablelands 17 5
North-west Slopes 25 8
Central -west Slopes 34 11
South-west Slopes 10 3
North-west Plains 45 14
South-west Plains 40 13
North Far West Plains 2 1
South Far West Plains 6 2
The few habitat notes associated with the data sources consulted (Appendices and 2,
Table 4) support the view that the Barking Owl is particularly associated with coastal,
lowland or riparian woodland dominated by various red gum species (also Kavanagh et
58 July 1997al. 1995a). For instance, seven of eight locations occupied by resident pairs of the Owls
were timbered creeklines with rough -barked apple Angophora floribunda, yellow box
Eucalyptus melliodora, Blakely’s red gum E. blakelyi, river she -oak Casuarina
cunninghamiana and river red gum, sometimes adjoining farmland (Coonabarabran area:
Appendix 1, A.K. Morris pers. comm.). The Owl often roosts in associated non -eucalypts
or midstorey shrubs: commonly river she -oak gallery forest or riparian cooba Acacia
salicina/river cooba A. stenophylla thickets (also Schodde & Mason 1980). It also roosts
in rough -barked apple (Kavanagh et al. 1995a, R. Kavanagh pers. comm.), which has a
more densely foliaged canopy than most other eucalypts. There are records of Barking
Owls roosting in wilga trees Geijera parvijlora, in gully rainforest, and in various
introduced trees around farm buildings and even in towns (Appendices and 2; Kavanagh
et al. 1995a). It appears that, if possible, roost trees are commonly selected that have
denser daytime cover than is usually provided by eucalypts (also Hodgon 1996).
Nevertheless, Barking Owls also roost in eucalypts, including river red gum (e.g. Kavanagh
et al. 1995a). A single record of a Barking Owl roosting in a cave (Chafer 1992) is
probably exceptional and biologically insignificant. Foraging and breeding are conducted
in red gum woodland contiguous with roosting sites (also Schodde & Mason 1980, Hodgon
Diet and foraging
In addition to the data of Kavanagh et al. ( I 995a) on the Boorolong Creek
(Armidale) pair of Barking Owls, i.e. Eastern Rosella Platycercus eximius and beetle in
pellets in August, further pellet fragments and prey remains were collected from that site
on 6 and 26 April 1996, and four intact pellets and fragments of others were collected in
late April 1997. The four pellets measured 16-27 x 16-32 mm (mean 21.8 x 26 mm).
Similar numbers of birds, mammals and insects were represented in the pair’s non -breeding
diet (Table 2), but mammals (53%) and birds (46%) contributed most by biomass and
insects least (1%). The mammal was a native arboreal species, the sugar glider Petaurus
breviceps. At a Barking Owl roost at Puddledock north-east of Armidale in April 1996
were Pheasant Coucal Centropus phasianinus and rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus remains.
These data suggest a reliance on vertebrates as prey in the cooler months, as opposed to
insects in the warmer months (cf. Kavanagh et al. 1995a).
Pellets and prey remains were collected from the roosts of the Boorolong Creek (Armidale)
pair and three fledglings over spring -summer, November 1996 to January 1997. Among
33 pellets or pieces thereof, 15 measurable pellets were 16-32 x 20-64 mm (mean 23.4 x
37.7 mm). The Owl family’s diet in the immediate post -fledging phase consisted mostly
of insects by number (59%), with the remainder birds (22%) and mammals (20%; Table
3). However, by biomass, birds (50%) and mammals (49%) were more important than
Australian Birds Vol 30 No.3 59insects (1%). Despite an abundance of rabbits in the district, with the calicivirus having
little effect locally (pers. obs.), the mammals taken were mostly native arboreal species,
with no rabbits and only one introduced mouse taken. These data confirm that, although
insects are taken in large numbers in the warmer months, vertebrates are important through
the post -fledging phase of the breeding cycle when the adult Owls are still feeding young.
For this adult pair, breeding and non -breeding diets were similar (cf. Table 2).
These results are broadly similar to those for comprehensive pellet samples (>20 prey
items) from two other sites in NSW, although there is some regional variation (Glen
Alice and Windsor: Kavanagh et al. 1995a). In the combined total for Glen Alice samples
(Central Tablelands), mammals contributed 71% of items, birds 15% -and insects 14% by
number, and 96%, 4% and <1% respectively by biomass (from Kavanagh et al. 1995a,
with mammal weights from Strahan 1995 and assuming 500 g for immature rabbits).
Rabbits predominated by number (67%) and biomass (92%), with introduced rats
contributing the remainder of mammalian captures and biomass. For Windsor (Central
Coast), mammals contributed 23% and insects 77% by number, and 99% and 1% by
biomass, respectively. Three native mammals were taken versus two rabbits, although
the latter contributed most (86%) by biomass.
Table 2
Non -breeding diet of a pair of Barking Owls near Armidale, New South Wales,
April 1996 and April 1997: minimum no. of individuals from pellets and prey
remains. Mammal weights from Strahan (1995), local bird weights from Ford &
Bell (1981), insects assumed to be 1 g.
Prey species Weight n
Sugar glider Petaurus breviceps 128 3
Laughing Kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae 305
Double -barred Finch Taeniopygia bichenovii 11 1
Small passerine 20
Total birds 3
Unidentified beetle 1 2
Cricket/grasshopper (Orthoptera)
1 1
Unidentified insect
1 1
Total insects 4
60 July 1997Other, fragmentary data support the impression of a diet mainly of birds and/or mammals,
with some insects, in NSW. For a family of Barking Owls on the Castlereagh River at
Gulargambone in spring 1980, “all” the pellets beneath the roost and nest trees contained
Galah Cacatua roseicapilla feathers; Galahs roosted along the river at that point (A.K.
Morris pers. comm.). A resident pair on the NSW Central Coast (Mangrove Mountain)
preyed on Laughing Kookaburras Dacelo novaeguineae (M. Pointer per A.K. Morris).
Prey at a site near Deniliquin was mainly birds, particularly cockatoos Cacatua sp. and
rosellas Platycercus sp. (Robinson 1994). Cox (in North 1911 and Mathews 1915-1916)
recorded caterpillars, mantis and rabbit as Barking Owl prey at Mudgee. Austin (in
North 1911) recorded rabbits, Red-rumped Parrots Psephotus haematonotus and large
beetles in the Owls’ nests at Cobbora. Austin (in Mathews 1915-1916) also observed
perch -hunting and successful sallying for small insectivorous bats, which have been
recorded in other dietary studies (Calaby 1951, Robinson 1994, Kavanagh et al. 1995a).
Pellets from the Grafton region contained two sugar gliders, insects and fish spines (Fleay
1968). One Barking Owl took a domestic chicken Gallus gallus (and was consequently
shot; Morse 1922). Hobbs (1961) commonly observed Barking Owls hawking for flying
insects on evenings in late summer.
These dietary records, together with those of Kavanagh et al. (1995a), show the Barking
Owl to be an adaptable and generalised predator that is able to switch to introduced prey
species, take more diurnal birds than most other Australian owls, and subsist on insects in
the warmer post -breeding months. The birds taken include common, adaptable and
increasing species. However, it is possible that immature rabbits are near the upper limit
of the Owl’s prey size -range and, where these are unavailable or available only seasonally,
it requires other suitably sized mammals such as sugar gliders at critical stages of its own
life -cycle (e.g. in winter or when breeding). These arboreal mammals require at least
some tree cover or extensive woodland, including some reasonably mature trees with
cavities, and an understorey of Acacia species (e.g. Strahan 1995). Furthermore, the
birds taken are species that require woodland at least for roosting purposes, at which
times they are probably captured by the Owls; many (e.g. parrots) are also hollow –
dependent for breeding purposes.
Of mammalian captures in the summer prey sample at Armidale, seven (86%) were arboreal
versus one terrestrial; the former contributed almost all (98%) mammalian prey biomass.
Conversely, for mammalian prey at Glen Alice, 94% (96% of mammalian prey biomass)
were terrestrial and the remainder scansorial (from Kavanagh et al. 1995a). For mammalian
prey at Windsor, three were arboreal or aerial versus two terrestrial, but the latter
contributed most (87%) mammalian prey biomass (from Kavanagh et al. 1995a). Although
there is great regional variation even within NSW, it appears that where possible the Owl
prefers to forage in woodland and capture mammals in the tree canopy.
Australian Birds Vol 30 No.3 61Table 3
Breeding diet of a family of Barking Owls near Armidale, New South Wales,
November 1996 to January 1997: minimum no. of individuals from pellets and
prey remains. Mammal weights from Strahan (1995), local bird weights from
Ford & Bell (1981), insects assumed to be 1 g.
Prey species Weight
Sugar glider Petaurus breviceps 128 5
Squirrel glider’Petaurus norfolcensis 230 1
Common ringtail possum Pseudocheirus peregrinus 450a 1
House mouse Mus domesticus 18 1
Total mammals 8 20
Crimson Rosella Platycercus elegans 120 1
Eastern Rosella Plarycercus eximius 110 1
Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis 140
Grey Shrike -thrush Colluricincla harmonica (juv .)? 64
Australian Magpie Gymnorhina tibicen 387
Pied Currawong Strepera graculina 300
Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris 78
Small passerine 1
Bird sp 152 1
Total birds 9 22
Christmas beetle Anoplognathus sp. 1 5
Other scarabs (Scarabaeidae) 13
Stag beetle (Lucanidae) 1 1
Longicorn beetle Phoracantha semipunctata 1 1
Unidentified beetle 1 3
Cricket/grasshopper (Orthoptera)
1 1
Total insects 24 59
Total 41
a juvenile (assumed to be half adult weight)
b mean of identified species
62 July 1997Eight or nine of 496 Barking Owl records (1-2%) were of road -killed birds (Appendices
and 2). This is the same as 1-2% of Powerful Owl records (Debus & Chafer 1994), but
contrasts with 20% of Masked Owl records (Debus & Rose 1994). These figures suggest
that the Barking Owl is much less inclined than is the Masked Owl to hunt from low
perches beside roads, and are consistent with the dietary data that the Barking Owl is
more active in the woodland canopy, taking birds and arboreal/scansorial as well as
terrestrial mammals and hawking for insects. The few recent data on Barking Owl hunting
behaviour come from outside NSW, but support such an interpretation (see Aumann
1991, Hodgon 1996).
Schodde & Mason (1980) gave the weight range of the Barking Owl as 425-510 g
for males and 425-485 g for females. Although their only NSW specimen (ANWC 223)
was a 425 g female, most of their weight data derive from tropical Australian specimens
in the collection. Individuals from NSW are considerably heavier than northern birds, as
revealed by specimens (Australian Museum; see Appendix 2): male of 596 g, females of
676, 680 and 709 g. Furthermore, two fully grown (unsexed) juveniles of northern NSW
provenance weighed 580 and 690 g (pers. obs.). Two males from south-east Queensland
weighed 639 and 708 g and a female 540 g, and an unsexed bird from north-east Queensland
weighed 710 g (Qld Museum data). The combined data give males 596-708 g (mean 648
g, n=3) and females 425-709 g (mean 606 g, n=5) for eastern Australia. These body
weights for southern Barking Owls place them in the size range of southern mainland
Masked Owls (cf. Debus 1993), and raise questions about niche partitioning between
these two similarly sized, sympatric owl species. The Barking Owl is intermediate in size
between its sympatric congeners in NSW, the Southern Boobook and the Powerful Owl
(cf. Schodde & Mason 1980); its general “mien” is that of small Powerful Owl rather than
large Boobook (pers. obs.; also Fleay 1968).
Breeding biology
The few nests described for NSW (Table 4) show that Barking Owls use available
hollows with entrances 2-29 m above ground, depending on the forest or woodland
structure and canopy height. One hollow was 75 cm deep (North 1911), but in another
case the nest chamber was at ground level in a sloping hollow trunk, 2 m below the
entrance (Fleay 1968). Most recorded breeding events in NSW have been in live river
red gums in riparian woodland of that species, but these are heavily biased by the records
of Austin (in North 1911 and associated museum data).
Australian Birds Vol 30 No.3 63Table 4
Breeding parameters of the Barking Owl in New South Wales. F = forest, W = woodland. E =
Eucalyptus, A = Angophora. Height = height of nest hollow entrance above ground. Sources: 1 =
Cobbora (separate nests: Austin in North 1911, Aust. Museum, Mus. Victoria, Qld Mus.); 2 = Aust.
Museum; 3 = Fleay (1968); 4 = Hobbs & Kaveney (1962); 5 = Stannix Park (different years: FOC
bird reports, Kavanagh et al. 1995a); 6 = Glen Alice (different years: FOC bird reports, Kavanagh et
al. 1995a, A. Ley); 7 = FOC annual bird reports; 8 = RAOU Field Atlas; 9 = Kavanagh et al.
(1995a), S. Cook; 10 = R. Webster/RAOU Nest Record Scheme; 11 = Costello (1981); 12 = Rolls
Habitat Nest tree sp. Height Month Stage Clutch/brood Source
(m) size (n)
W E. camaldulensis 16 Aug eggs C/3 x 2 1
W E. camaldulensis ? Aug hatchlings B/3 1
? ? ? Sep eggs C/2 1
? dead ? Sep eggs C/3 1
? ? ? Sep nestlings B/2 1
? ? ? Sep nestlings B/3 1
W E. camaldulensis 16/21 Oct eggs C/3 x 2 1
W E. camaldulensis 21 Oct nestlings B/2 1
? ? ? Nov eggs C/2 1
? ? ? Dec fledged B/? x 3 1
? ? ? Aug egg(s) C/? 2
? ? ? Aug eggs C/3 2
W E. microcarpa 2.1 Dec large
nestlings B/3 3
F E. pilularis 29 ? ? ? 3
? ? ? Dec fledged B/2 4
W E. amplifolia? ? Nov fledged B/1 5
Jan fledged B/1 5
Feb juvenile B/1 5
W A. floribunda? Aug- nesting,
Dec fledged B/1 6
Jan fledged B/2 6
Feb juvenile B/1 6
Oct fledged B/2 6
? ? ? Oct fledged B/2 7
W E. camaldulensis Nov fledged B/3 7
? ? ? ? juveniles B/3 7
? ? ? Feb juveniles B/2 7
? ? ? Jan juveniles B/2 8
W E. viminalis ? Aug eggs? ? 9
Oct fledged B/3 9
W ? ? Nov fledged B/1 9
F E. camaldulensis 25 Aug –
Sep eggs? ? 10
W E. camaldulensis ? ? ? ? 11
W? ? ? ? fledglings B/2 12
64 July 1997Like other Ninox, the Barking Owl is a strictly seasonal breeder raising a single (small)
brood per year. From the few data (Table 4), it appears that in NSW most eggs are laid in
late winter and early spring (three clutches in August, two in September, two in October),
with one clutch in November probably representing re-laying after robbery by humans
(see North 1911). This interpretation is supported by a record of hatchlings in August,
which suggests that laying may occasionally take place in late July; records of nestlings
in September (two broods), October (one brood) and December (one brood); and recently
fledged young in October (three broods), November (three broods), December (five broods)
and January (two broods). Records of dependent juveniles in January and February suggest
that the post -fledging dependence period lasts up to 3-4 months.
For data obtained early this century (Table 4), the modal clutch size was three (C/2 x 2, C/
3 x 6; mean 2.8) and the modal brood size for nestlings was also three (B/2 x 2, B/3 x 3;
mean 2.6). Data for brood size after fledging (B/1 x 5, B/2 x 7, B/3 x 3; mean 1.9) come
from recent years, thus precluding any assessment of whether nestling brood reduction
occurs or whether fledging success has declined over time in NSW, or both (cf. Kavanagh
et al. 1995a). Schodde & Mason (1980) asserted that all of the brood usually survive to
fledge. If so, then fledging success may indeed have declined in NSW.
There are records from outside NSW of nests in sheltered tree crotches, rock crevices and
rabbit burrows (Schodde & Mason 1980, Hollands 1991). Nevertheless, such unusual
and infrequent nest types are probably exceptional, and it is likely that in most areas the
Barking Owl is dependent on hollows in old eucalypts for nest sites.
There is only one mention, from outside NSW, of a Barking Owl being caught on
a barbed-wire fence (Fleay 1968), in contrast with five NSW records of Masked Owls
striking fences or wires (Debus & Rose 1994). This suggests that fences and wires may
be less of a hazard to the Barking Owl, perhaps related to its greater confinement to
woodland cover or to a greater tendency to perch and fly at higher levels. However,
Barking Owls have been found dead under powerlines on foggy mornings (Coonabarabran
area, NSW: A.K. Morris pers. comm.).
There are also far fewer records of road -killed Barking Owls than of Masked Owls in
NSW (see above). Collisions with vehicles seem to be a lesser hazard for the Barking
Owl, again perhaps in keeping with its behaviour and greater confinement to the woodland
canopy, although it may also be rarer than the Masked Owl in coastal areas of high traffic
volume. Similarly, although Barking Owls have been caught in rabbit traps (outside
NSW: North 1911), this seems to have been less of a hazard than for the Masked Owl (cf.
Debus 1993).
Australian Birds Vol 30 No.3 65A potential threat to the Barking Owl is secondary poisoning by brodifacoum-based
rodenticides (“Klerat”, “Talon”). However, the risk may be less for the Barking Owl
than for grassland and woodland Tyto species, and then only in woodland contiguous
with crops suffering heavy rodent damage where brodifacoum is used routinely (Young
& De Lai 1997).
Threatening processes
For the Barking Owl, Gilmore & Parnaby (1994) identified threatening processes
in north-eastern NSW as ongoing clearing of habitat, particularly on flatter topography
on and adjacent to flooplains, and changes to the age structure of tree cover, resulting in
decline of old and dead trees. These processes apply statewide, with agriculture and
timber or firewood harvesting the major factors.
Timber harvesting in state forests is likely to be less of a concern for the Barking Owl
than for the large forest owls, for several reasons: (a) the Barking Owl is marginal to the
coastal and tableland wood -production forests; (b) its prey species are mostly not old-
growth dependent, although some require hollows; (c) logging prescriptions, designed to
protect old trees and riparian zones, apply in inland forests (e.g. Robinson 1994); (d) the
Owl’s populations fall mainly outside state forests. Although not occurring in regenerating
forest <60 years old, the Barking Owl otherwise shows no relationship with forest age –
classes (Davey 1993). Nevertheless, the skewed distribution of large hollow trees on
farmland versus the heavily logged inland forests is suggested as one reason for the Barking
Owl’s occurrence on private versus public land in the temperate woodlands (Robinson
1994). Harvesting of trees for firewood rather than timber is a major concern in the
inland forests and woodlands (Robinson & Traill 1996).
By far the greatest threat to the Barking Owl is further loss and degradation of habitat,
with consequences for the Owl’s foraging and breeding requirements (i.e. loss of hunting
habitat and potential roosting and nest sites) and for its prey base. The major factor is
further clearing for agriculture in inland NSW, compounded by suppression of eucalypt
regeneration by grazing, decline of remnant trees in cleared areas, and reduction of prey
(decline of small native mammals); in woodland remnants, nest hollows may also be lost
to timber or firewood harvesting and to feral honeybees Apis mellifera (Smith et al. 1995).
The gravity of the situation is illustrated by recent data on woodland loss in the Barking
Owl’s likely core NSW distribution, i.e. the inland slopes and plains. About 70% of the
woodland in NSW has already been lost (from Lunney 1991). Clearing is most intensive
on the western slopes, central plains and Riverina (northern Central Division and east of
the Western Division); 90% of the wheatbelt is cleared, and the process is continuing
66 July 1997(Glanznig 1995). Over the 15 years from the early 1970s to mid 1980s, over half the
remnant woodland in the central wheatbelt was cleared; over the decade from the mid
1970s to mid 1980s, about 70% of the remnant woodland in the northern wheatbelt (Moree
region) was cleared, with 19% of the original vegetation remaining (Glanznig 1995).
Evidence for population decline
Evidence for a decline in the state’s Barking Owl population comes mainly from
examples of sites where it once occurred but is now absent or rarely reported. The Owl
was formerly common in the Coonabarabran area (1977-1980), but is now rare there
(A.K. Morris pers. comm.). For instance, Morris knew of resident pairs at eight sites in
the district, but the species is no longer or now rarely reported from those sites, including
the Warrumbungle National Park often visited by bird -watchers (see Appendices and
2). Morris (pers. comm.) resided near T.P. Austin’s property “Cobborah Estate” for eight
years 1975-1982, but did not record the Barking Owl from that stretch of the Talbragar
River where three pairs were formerly known (cf. North 1911, Mathews 1915-1916).
Nor have there been any other records for that area since the time (1970) when Morris
began collating NSW bird records for annual bird reports etc. Targeted surveys near the
headwaters of the Talbragar River in 1993/1995, using Barking Owl call playback, also
failed to record the Owl (Kavanagh 1995).
Hobbs (1961) recorded the Barking Owl as common in river red gum “throughout” his
survey area from the eastern Riverina west to Wentworth. Atlas records were well
distributed in this region pre -1977 and 1977-81 (Appendix 1), but are sparser in the period
1981-94 (cf. Cooper & McAllan 1995). There also appear to be fewer literature records,
e.g. annual bird reports, for the region in recent years (Appendix 2). Recent searches
found few Barking Owls in the Murray Valley between Albury and Yarrawonga (Robinson
1994). Similarly, the Owl occurred on the Lachlan and Murrumbidgee Rivers last century
but soon declined (Bennett in North 1911); recent searches found few on the Murrumbidgee
(Robinson 1994). Recent faunal surveys in the river red gum of the Riverina found few
Barking Owls (R. Webster pers. comm.), with the implication that fewer were encountered
than expected. I. Taylor (pers. comm.) reported that his colleagues were now finding no
Barking Owls in the Albury region (South-west Slopes) in areas where they were known
10 years ago.
Chisholm (1936) regarded a large owl species, assigned to the Barking Owl by Morris
(1976), as “probably quite plentiful” in the Pilliga Scrub. During recent targeted surveys,
the Barking Owl was recorded at few sites in the Pilliga and was much scarcer than
expected (Appendix 1; E.M. Date pers. comm.).
Australian Birds Vol 30 No.3 67The Barking Owl has declined in the eucalypt woodland of the NSW semi- arid zone
generally (Smith & Smith 1994), concomitant with accelerated clearing on the eastern
and southern fringes of the Western Division (Smith et al. 1995). From estimates of
forest and woodland loss in NSW (i.e. 50% and 70% respectively) and their relative
original cover (from Lunney 1991), and given the Barking Owl’s apparent preference for
woodland over forest, the Owl’s population may have declined by almost 70% in NSW,
although Owl densities are unknown. The decline may have been less than 70%, given
the Owl’s ability to survive in some woodland fragments. Rabbits, particularly pre –
myxomatosis, may also have supported artificially high Barking Owl numbers. Post-
calicivirus, the Owl population may now contract further to those large, healthy woodland
patches able to support high numbers of birds and arboreal mammals.
Calling behaviour
Barking Owls have been reported hooting or calling (type unspecified, though
probably mainly hooting) throughout the year, with greatest frequency in July -August
and least in summer (Appendices and 2). Duetting by pairs has been reported mostly in
winter and spring. The scream has been reported twice in July, twice in winter (month
unspecified) and once in summer. These results are consistent with previous information
on the Barking Owl’s calling behaviour (e.g. Schodde & Mason 1980, Hollands 1991,
Hodgon 1996).
There were 67 reports of calling birds from 496 records at 317 sites (Appendices and 2),
with other detections of the owl probably also by call although this was not specified. It
is apparent that the Barking Owl is highly vocal and readily detected by spontaneous
(unelicited) calls (also Schodde & Mason 1980), and should be one of the most detectable
Australian owls. It is also one of the most responsive to playback or imitation of conspecific
calls, in autumn as well as the breeding season (Appendix 1; Debus in press and pers.
obs.). Auditory surveys for the species, incorporating a playback component with listening
for replies, should therefore be an effective technique in any season. The lack of Barking
Owl records during extensive surveys for large forest owls, some admittedly not using
Barking Owl playback but incorporating a one -hour listening phase, can only be explained
by the Barking Owl’s absence from the moister forest types inhabited by Sooty and/or
Powerful Owls (e.g. Kavanagh & Peake 1993, Debus 1995, Kavanagh 1995, Kavanagh
& Bamkin 1995, Kavanagh et al. 1995b, Kavanagh & Stanton in press). The many
examples of Barking Owls, including pairs, calling throughout the year (Appendices
and 2) support the view that established Owl pairs are permanently resident and territorial
(e.g. Schodde & Mason 1980, Hollands 1991).
A problem with records of the Barking Owl based only on calls is potential confusion
with dogs and foxes (e.g. Parker 1977). For instance, calls of Barking Owls and dogs can
68 July 1997sometimes be difficult to distinguish even for experienced observers (R. Kavanagh pers.
comm.). Foxes also give a shrill, though abrupt, yelp which might be mistaken for the
Barking Owl’s scream (pers. obs.). Caution is therefore required when basing Barking
Owl records on call only, and verification by other means is desirable.
The data collated here on the Barking Owl’s ecology in NSW agree with previous
data for Australia generally (cf. Schodde & Mason 1980, Hollands 1991). However, the
many coastal records challenge the popular misconception that the Barking Owl is rare
on the coast. Nevertheless, the results of this review suggest that in NSW the Barking
Owl is more common west of the Great Divide than east, although this perception requires
testing by comparative surveys.
This review generally supports the conclusions of Kavanagh et al. (1995a) on aspects of
the Owl’s ecology in NSW. The new dietary data herein suggest that, in its foraging
ecology, the Barking Owl behaves much like a forest owl, operating in the canopy of
open forest and woodland. The Barking Owl may prey on rabbits only when circumstances
force it to do so, e.g. insufficient tree cover and arboreal mammal prey. Although the
Owl preys heavily on rabbits in some open areas of Victoria (Calaby 1951, Hollands
1991, Robinson 1994), another (small) Victorian pellet sample contained two sugar gliders,
a native mouse Pseudomys sp. and beetle(s) (Veerman 1979).
Body -weight data for NSW show that the Barking Owl is heavier in the south than implied
by Schodde & Mason (1980), and is therefore a potential competitor of the similarly
sized southern Masked Owl. The data suggest some niche partitioning by diet and foraging
behaviour, with the Barking Owl actively taking more birds and insects and spending less
time listening from low perches beside breaks in ground cover (also Aumann 1991, Hodgon
1996; cf. Debus 1993 for Masked Owl). At least in non -coastal situations, the Barking
Owl may also be a more strictly riparian bird. However, the apparently low population
density of both suggests that direct competition is unlikely.
The Barking Owl is most abundant in tropical northern Australia and New Guinea (e.g.
Schodde & Mason 1980, Hollands 1991). The pattern of its distribution and abundance
in NSW is consistent with that of a primarily Torresian species approaching the limit of
its ecological tolerance in south-eastern Australia. It seems reasonable to conclude that it
prefers drier and more open habitats than does the Powerful Owl, and that it is more
tolerant of human activity. The Barking Owl also seems more flexible in diet, with a
greater capacity to take terrestrial prey, to eat insects at certain times of year, and to
switch to introduced prey animals. However, the Owl’s prey base in some remnant
woodland areas may now be threatened by the rabbit calicivirus.
Australian Birds Vol 30 No.3 69With published FOC records of the Powerful Owl for 1993-96 taken into account (649
records from Debus & Chafer 1994 and subsequent FOC newsletters and annual bird
reports), the number of Barking Owl records (496) is three-quarters that for the Powerful
Owl and from a similar number of sites (317 vs 320), but from about four times the area.
This suggests that the Barking Owl occurs at much lower density, albeit over a greater
total range. However, there have been many more targeted surveys for the Powerful Owl
in recent years. Much of the Barking Owl’s NSW distribution coincides with areas of
low observer density and, like all nocturnal birds, it may be under- recorded (though
inclusion of records in Cooper & McAllan 1995, for Central and Western Divisions only,
should redress the regional bias to some extent). Furthermore, observers may have been
less inclined to report records of the Barking Owl than of the larger owls. Aspects of the
Barking Owl’s ecology (e.g. habitat, roost -site, nest -site and dietary tolerances) suggest
that it should be more common than it is, and more common than the Powerful Owl (as
indeed it evidently was when NSW was settled by Europeans). Reasons for the apparent
rarity of the Barking Owl must therefore be sought, particularly in view of its evident
decline in NSW.
The data suggest the following working hypothesis. In NSW the Barking Owl, a basically
Torresian species, is near its southern limit where it occupies the more open of the
biologically richest habitats, in terms of prey diversity and/or biomass, not fully occupied
by the Powerful Owl and Sooty Owl. It may be dependent on locally rich sites, like some
Honeyeater Xanthomyza phrygia and Masked Owl. The Barking Owl lives in lowland,
warmer areas in riparian and other well -watered situations where it requires open forest
or woodland to suit its hunting behaviour and large patches to provide sufficient densities
of arboreal/scansorial mammalian prey, to enable it to breed and to tide it over the cooler
months when insect prey is scarce. The quality of patches (e.g. understorey Acacia for
gliders, Robinson 1994) may also be important. The Owl has rather narrow roosting and
nesting requirements: it roosts in dense riparian trees, and nests in large hollows in (usually)
live old eucalypts within open forest or woodland. It particularly favours red gum
associations such as forest red gum on the coastal floodplains and river red gum on the
inland slopes and plains (also Kavanagh et al. 1995a).
Habitat loss is identified as a major threat to the Barking Owl. Figures on woodland
clearance in inland NSW (Glanznig 1995) illustrate that the situation has by no means
stabilised. For instance, at present rates of clearing there will probably no woodland left
in the northern NSW wheatbelt by the year 2000. Relatively fertile flats, probably prime
Barking Owl habitat, are precisely the areas targeted for clearing (also Robinson & Trail!
1996). Not only has the Owl lost a large proportion of its habitat in NSW, but the impact
has probably been greatest in the best Barking Owl habitat. The situation is exemplified
by the continual pressure to clear remnant coastal floodplain habitat and wheatbelt
70 July 1997woodland, and the incursion of clearing into the Western Division (e.g. expansion of the
cotton industry into the black- soil plains on river flats formerly timbered with black box
Eucalyptus largiflorens, coolibah E. microtheca and river red gum). Degradation of
remaining habitat by grazing has contributed to the generally deplorable condition of
watercourses and their banks on private land in rural NSW (treeless, alga -infested, silted –
up, now intermittent flows, etc.). Such a situation not only explains the apparent decline
of the Barking Owl, it also explains why the Owl seems less common than expected in the
In view of the Barking Owl’s apparent rarity and decline in NSW, and the extreme threat
to most of its remaining habitat (much of which is apparently on private land), it would
seem more threatened than the Powerful Owl and even more deserving of special legislative
protection. A reasonable recommendation is that the Barking Owl should be added to the
NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995, Schedule 2: Vulnerable, under the
criteria “population reduced; poor recovery potential; threatening processes severe;
ecological specialist” [the last reflecting its dependence on riparian woodland and hollows,
and “restricted generalist” diet, i.e. carnivore/vertebrates]. Such a move would place the
onus on land developers to assess the conservation significance of any Barking Owl habitat
that will be affected, and if necessary produce a species impact statement. It would also
recognise the Barking Owl as a top predator and management indicator species in the
drier, more open habitats not covered by similar considerations for the large forest owls,
and oblige the state fauna authority to prepare a recovery plan for the Owl. In keeping
with such a role, adequate conservation of populations of the Barking Owl across its
range in rural NSW would also ensure conservation of the many other threatened woodland
birds that share its habitat. The Barking Owl’s calling and response behaviour ensures
that it is easily surveyed and monitored for such purposes.
The Barking Owl remains one of our least -known owls, overshadowed by the more
“charismatic” and much better known Powerful Owl. There is clearly a need for much
better knowledge of the Barking Owl’s life history and ecological requirements, as well
as a more concerted focus on the conservation of the woodlands and their birds generally
(also Robinson 1994, Robinson & Traill 1996). The conclusions herein on the Owl’s
ecology, distribution and status in NSW, across land tenures, require validation by a
more extensive field survey and detailed research, with emphasis on surveys on private
land (e.g. Robinson 1994). Meanwhile, interim conservation measures for the Barking
Owl should include financial and other incentives from all levels of government to
encourage landholders to protect remnant woodland, particularly riparian, from further
clearing; to re-establish representative patches; and to rehabilitate rural watercourses and
their catchments with the original tree species. To assist in assessing and monitoring the
situation, the Barking Owl should be seen as equally worthy as the larger owls of full
reporting in the NSW FOC annual bird reports. To that end, observers should report all
records to the Records Officer for listing.
Australian Birds Vol 30 No.3 71ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This study was funded by an Australian Research Council Grant to Associate
Professor Hugh Ford, Zoology Dept, University of New England, and supported logistically
by that Department. Lyle Smith forwarded Barking Owl records from the RAOU Atlas
of Australian Birds database (some collated by John Peter), and from the Museum of
Victoria. Dr Richard Major provided RAOU Nest Record Scheme data for NSW, and
staff of the Australian Museum provided data on specimens in the collection. Dr Penny
Olsen supplied details of specimens in the CSIRO collection, Canberra, and details of
egg collections. Greg Czechura and Heather Janetzki enabled access to Queensland
Museum data. Tony Rose analysed owl pellets from the Armidale district, many of which
were collected by Bob Shepherd (particularly) and Damon Oliver. The following people
supplied unpublished Barking Owl records and/or unpublished data: David Charley (NSW
NPWS), Shirley Cook, John Courtney, Liz Date (survey data for State Forests of NSW,
with permission of SFNSW to quote them here), Peter Debus, Hugh Ford, Sandy Gilmore,
Stuart Green (UNE), Rod Kavanagh (State Forests of NSW), Ford Kristo (ANCA, Jervis
Bay NP), Andrew Ley, Ian Maclean (UNE), Peter Metcalfe (UNE), Alan Morris, Damon
Oliver (Zoology UNE), Joe Purcell, Julia Rose, Peter & Lola Smith, Paul Webber. Rick
Webster and Dr lain Taylor provided comments on the Owl’s status in southern NSW.
Hugh Ford, Alan Morris, Rod Kavanagh and Chris Chafer commented helpfully on a
draft of this paper.
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Appendix 2
Details of published records of the Barking Owl in NSW. This is available as an
accessory publication from the author. It is also lodged with the NSW Field
Ornithologists Club, the NSW Bird Atlassers and the Ornithology Department,
Australian Museum.
74 July 1997Appendix
Unpublished records of the Barking Owl in New South Wales, approximately in
chronological order within the regions defined by McAllan & Bruce (1989). NP
= National Park; NR = Nature Reserve; SF = State Forest; AM = Australian
Museum; MV = Museum of Victoria; Atlas = RAOU Historical and Field Atlas
databases; NRS = RAOU Nest Record Scheme.
Region Source/comments
North Coast:
Murwillumbah Old specimen Tweed R (AM 0.3668).
Grafton? Specimen Clarence R (J. Wilcox) 1866-76 (AM 0.23637).
Richmond/Clarence R 1859-88; listed in Ramsay’s Tabular List (per Historical
Grafton 1960s (?), breeding pair near Pillar Valley, paperbark
(Melaleuca) swamp and farmland (J. Young per R.
South Grafton Aug. 1977 (Atlas).
Nymboida Spring 1977 (Atlas).
Paterson Martins Creek 1977-78 (Atlas).
Pacific Palms Whoota, Coomba Rd 1977-79 (Atlas).
Yuraygir NP Diggers Headland winter 1978 (screaming), L. Hiawatha
1978-80 (Atlas).
Wauchope May 1980 (2 sites; Atlas).
Chichester SF Telegherry Forest Park May 1980 (Atlas).
Mt Nullum Spring 1981 (Atlas).
Iluka Autumn 1981 (Atlas).
Bentley Pair on McKellar Ra north of Bungabbee SF (undated,
last 10 years?; S.Gilmore).
Doubleduke SF Five birds (pair and trio, the latter possibly a family)
responded strongly to playback Nov. 1991; floodplain forest
red gum Eucalyptus tereticornis open forest and woodland
(D. Charley).
Casino Female responded to playback Main Camp, March 1995
(SD): forest red gum floodplain woodland near creek.
Rankin Park One bird Feb. 1995 (calling; Hunter BOC per
A.K. Morris).
Bungawalbin NR Pair Aug. 1996 (calling; D. Charley).
Banyabba NR One bird Oct. 1996 (J. Purcell, S. Townley).
Australian Birds Vol 30 No.3 75Region Source/comments
Central Coast:
Liverpool Specimen Sept. 1903 (MV: HLW5305).
Hornsby 1966-76, late winter/spring 1979 (2 sites; Atlas).
Dharug NP Jan. 1977 (Atlas).
Upper Lane Cove R Spring 1977, calling June 1979 (Atlas).
Avalon Hooting Sept. -Oct. 1978 (Atlas).
Narrabeen Hooting Deep Creek Sept. -Oct. 1978 (Atlas).
Wollombi Nov. 1978, Jan. and Mar. 1979 (Atlas).
Kurrajong Hooting, screaming summer 1980/81 (Atlas).
Kiama 1980 (Atlas).
Berry Woodhill, calling autumn 1980 (Atlas).
Kenthurst Undated (Atlas).
Arcadia Calling once or twice per year, usually autumn, 1991-96
(R. Kavanagh).
Howes Valley One bird calling Kindarun Aug. 1994 (D. Oliver).
Mangrove Mountain Pair resident 1995, calling July- Aug. (M. Pointer per A.K.
Seven Hills One bird June 1996 (E. Vella per A.K. Morris).
Gerringong One bird in garden June 1996 (Illawarra BOC per A.K.
Eastwood One bird in garden Oct. 1996 (E. Hoskin per
A.K. Morris).
Windsor Recorded Freemans Reach several times 1996 (M. Stanton
per R. Kavanagh).
South Coast:
Jervis Bay NP One bird Green Patch, undated (last 10 years; F. ‘Cristo).
Bega Mumbulla, Aug. 1978 (Atlas). One bird 10 km S Mar.
1995 (R.Kavanagh).
Pambula Reported before 1994 Stanton Rock between Burragate
and Wyndham (per R.Kavanagh).
Eden Undated (recent) records Bittangabee, Towamba River to
S (NPWS per R.Kavanagh), Wog Wog R to W (R. & L.
Farrell per R. Kavanagh). One bird 5 km S of Wonboyn
May 1994, one bird Pericoe Mar. 1995 (R. Kavanagh).
Bemboka One bird Mar. 1995 (M. Stanton per R. Kavanagh).
Brogo One bird Bemboka SF 7 km NW May 1994 (M. Stanton
per R. Kavanagh).
Northern Tablelands:
Kings Plains Egg(s) Aug. 1921 (AM 0.52930).
Bundarra Abington 1977/78 (Atlas) = pair observed by R. Noske
(per J. Courtney).
76 July 1997Region Source/comments
Walcha Moona Plains 1978/79 (Atlas).
Barrington Tops Polblue Swamp, Stewarts Brook SF Nov. 1980 (Atlas).
Armidale Dumaresq 1979 (Atlas); one bird resident for some months
near Dumaresq Dam circa 1990 (P. Metcalfe). One bird
Herbert Park, Gara R, screaming winter 1990 (P. Debus).
Undated (recent) record near Hillgrove Creek SF (P.
Webber). One bird Newholme Field Lab. mid 1995 (S.
Green) and late 1996 (I. Maclean). One bird roosting in
English elm U/nws sp. beside derelict building, near
wooded creek, Puddledock April 1996 (J. Rose).
Nandewar Ra One bird calling Ironbark Ck W of Bundarra, May 1995
(D. Oliver).
Torryburn One bird roosting in river she -oak Casuarina
cunninghamiana, Gwydir R Oct. 1995 (J. Walters per H.
Yarrowyck Pair roosting in river she -oak, Boorolong Creek, April
1996 (SD); with 3 fledglings Oct. -Dec. (S. Cook, B.
Central Tablelands:
Tarana Undated old specimen (AM 0.12770).
Perthville Undated old specimen “Poba” (AM 0.36846).
Borenore “Koolewong” 1948-76 (Atlas).
Berrima 1941-50, summer 1977 (Atlas).
Mt Wilson 1966-76, 1977 (Atlas).
Mittagong Barralier, calling Dec. 1978 (Atlas).
Leura Dec. 1981 in garden (Atlas).
Bilpin Mountain Lagoon 1980-81 (Atlas).
Glen Alice Pair with 2 fledglings Oct. 1996 (A. Ley et al. per D.
Oliver, S. Cook).
Southern Tablelands:
Clyde Mm 1975-76, 1977-79 (Atlas).
Tharwa Gudgenby 1975-76 (Atlas).
Mongarlowe 1975/76, Nov. 1977 (Atlas).
Cathcart One bird Mar. 1993 (R. Kavanagh)
North-west Slopes:
Gilgandra Biddon 1940-49 (Atlas).
Gunnedah Eggs (C/3) Kibah Aug. 1963 (AM 0. 61458). Road kill
Curlewis winter 1980 (Atlas).
Australian Birds Vol 30 No.3 77Region Source/comments
Coonabarabran Winter 1977 (Atlas), Siding Spring winter 1981 (Atlas).
Resident pairs Dandry Road (7 km NE), Timor Rock,
Yearinan, Ulamambri 1977-80 (A.K. Morris).
Terry Hie Hie Spring 1978 (Atlas).
Breeza Road kill June 1978 (Atlas).
Warrumbungle NP Winter (2 pairs calling) and Dec. 1977, winter 1981
(Atlas). Resident pair Camp Blackman 1977-80 (A.K.
Morris); one bird calling there Aug. 1994 (D. Oliver).
Torrington One bird screaming Silent Grove July 1979, open forest
Manilla Bradleys Downfall Dec. 1979 (Atlas).
Woolomin Pair 1975-1980, roosting in creekside river she -oaks or
willows Salix babylonica, often duetting with hooting call
(B. Graham/Atlas).
Bingara Horton Valley winter 1978, spring 1981 (Atlas).
Yarrigan SF One bird spring 1993 (C. Barker per L. Date).
Linton NR One bird calling June, Aug. 1994; May, July 1995 (D.
Warrabah NP One bird calling July 1995 (D. Oliver).
Bundarra One bird calling Gwydir R July 1995 (D. Oliver).
Pilliga East SF One bird Oct. 1996 (T. Quested per A.K. Morris).
Central -west Slopes:
Grenfell Specimen June 1905 (MV: HLW5304).
Scone “Belltrees”: specimen May 1912 (MV: HLW5303),
observed 1914-17 (Atlas).
Cobbora Eggs (C/3) “Cobborah Estate” Aug. 1917 (MV: Favaloro
Collection); (C/2) “Narran”, Talbragar R Sept. 1917
(AM 0.61457).
Wellington-Dubbo 1943 (Atlas).
Temora 1977/78 (Atlas); road kill several km E April 1974 (P. &
L. Smith).
Ingalba NR 1971-74, Aug. 1978, Feb. and July 1979 (Atlas).
Mimosa Summer 1978-79, autumn 1980, Dec. 1981 (Atlas).
Tichborne Summer 1978/79 (Atlas).
West Wyalong March 1978 (Atlas).
Giral 1978 (Atlas).
Cowra Spring 1978 (Atlas).
Widden Valley April 1979 (Atlas).
Mudgee Sept. 1981 (Atlas). One bird Oct. 1996 (T. Wilson per
A.K. Morris).
78 July 1997Region Source/comments
Narrandera Winter 1981 (Atlas).
Quandialla March 1978 (Atlas).
Back Yamma SF One bird Dec. 1995 (G. Fry per A.K. Morris).
South-west Slopes:
Culcairn Specimen, Nov. 1898, in the AMNH (per Atlas).
Wagga Wagga 1964-76, 1977-80 (Atlas); specimen (road kill?) May
1984 (MV B.18755).
Wee Jasper Bungongo SF June 1979 (Atlas).
Holbrook 1978-80 (4 sites, including autumn 1978, winter 1980;
Rand Aug. 1979 (Atlas).
Narrandera Undated (recent) record Buckingbong SF near Morundah
(per R. Kavanagh).
North-west Plains:
Walgett “Wharparilla” 1901-39, “Riverview” winter 1979 (Atlas).
Cobar 1971-76 (Atlas).
Pallamallawa Pair and young (B/2) flushed from small group of wilga
trees Geijera parviflora in chenopod (?) shrubland, Jan.
1977 (Atlas).
Mungindi “Caidmulla” (?) 1977, “Eulalie” 1977-78 (Atlas).
Baradine Resident pair “Cumberdeen” 13 km NW 1977-80
(A.K. Morris).
Gilgandra “Berida” 1977 (Atlas); resident pair there 1977-80
(A.K. Morris).
East Toorale Calling July 1978 (Atlas).
Warren “Teasdale” autumn 1979 (Atlas).
Coonamble “Emby” winter 1979 (Atlas).
Gulargambone Resident pair “Yarrandale” 1977-80; nested in river red
gum Eucalyptus camaldulensis, roosted in river she -oak
Casuarina cunninghamiana (A.K. Morris).
Brewarrina Darling R 1980; “Glen Acre” March and July
(screaming) 1980 (Atlas).
Baan Baa Bird flushed from roost in “casuarina-dominated wood
land” Sept. 1981 (D. Franklin/Atlas).
Pilliga West SF One bird calling Aloes Well spring 1991; one bird
Wooleybah Dam spring 1992 by playback (L. Date).
Sandgate SF Pair calling spring 1993 and 1994 (L. Date).
South-west Plains:
Barham 1941-76 (2 sites, breeding 1960-70); summer 1979/80
Australian Birds Vol 30 No.3 79Region Source/comments
Weethalle 1951 (Atlas).
Finley 1953-58 (Atlas).
Moulamein 1953-58 (Atlas).
Balranald 1954-60 (Atlas); 1977-81, breeding 1978; “Benongal” Feb.
1978 (Atlas).
Rankin Springs “Wandella” 1957 (Atlas).
Caldwell 1961-76 (Atlas).
Darlington Point “Benerembah” 1963-68 (Atlas).
Deniliquin 1967-76, summer 1978/79. (Atlas). Nesting in river red
gum E. camaldulensis Aug. -Sept. 1992 (R. Webster/NRS).
Wandook Tank most of 1977, hooting summer 1978,
calling July 1980; present 1981 (Atlas).
Willandra NP 1974-76 (Atlas).
Ivanhoe “Bonuna”, calling July 1977 (Atlas).
Lake Brewster Pair duetting July 1977 in river red gum (SD); one bird
calling Mar. 1986 (L. Smith).
Wanganella “Barrata” autumn 1977 (Atlas).
Round Hill Mar. 1978 (Atlas).
Colleambally Winter 1979 (Atlas).
Conargo “Amaroo” May 1980 (Atlas).
Goodnight Autumn 1981 (Atlas).
Savernake Winter 1981 (Atlas).
Moira Lakes Winter and Dec. 1981 (Atlas).
Leeton “Yarrabimbi”, Mt Brobenah 1995 (M. Schultz per
A.K. Morris).
Griffith Two birds June 1996 (B. Moller per A.K. Morris).
North Far West Plains:
Mootwingee 1960-76 (Atlas).
Sturt NP Mt King June 1979 (Atlas).
South Far West Plains:
Kinchega NP 1967-76, Nov. 1977 (Atlas); pair calling 1986-88 Darling
R (D. Charley).
Wentworth “Springwood” 1960-76, 1977-79 (Atlas).
Menindee “Albermarle” 1978 (Atlas).
80 July 1997Advice to Contributors
Manuscripts should be typed with double spacing and wide margins at top and sides, and
submitted initially as an original and two duplicates. Tables and figures must be in the
form of reproducable hard copy, having due regard to the journal page size and format. If
extensive retyping or drafting is required publication may be delayed or prevented. Pho-
tographs should be submitted as glossy black and white prints of size and contrast suit-
able for reproduction.
Upon acceptance, it is most helpful if the final manuscripts of substantial articles can be
submitted in word processor format. The editor will advise details of acceptable formats.
Contributions are considered on the understanding that they are not being offered for publication
Authors are advised to consult a current issue of Australian Birds as a guide to style and
punctuation, which conform in general to the Commonwealth Style Manual. Spelling
follows the Macquarie Dictionary. In particular:
dates are written as ‘1 January 1990’, but may be abbreviated in tables and figures;
the 24 hour clock is used with Eastern Standard Time, e.g.
0630 for 6.30 am and 1830 for 6.30 pm. Daylight Saving time should
be corrected to EST;
in the text, single -digit numbers are spelt out; 10 000 and larger numbers are
printed with a space (not a comma) separating the thousands;
English names of bird species (but not group names) are written with an initial capital
for each separate word.
Scientific names of bird species and their classification should follow Christidis & Boles
1994, The Taxonomy and Species of Birds of Australia and its Territories,
RAOU Monograph 2.
References to books appear in the form
Marchant, S. & Higgins, P.J.(eds) 1990, Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic
Birds, Vol. I, OUP, Melbourne.
and to journals as
Morris, A.K., Tyler, V., Tyler, M., Mannes, H.& Dalby, J. 1990, ‘A waterbird survey of
the Parramatta River wetlands, Sydney’, Aust Birds, 23:3.
These are cited in the text as Marchant & Higgins (1990) or (Morris et al. 1990), respectively.Volume 30 No. 3 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS July 1997
S.J.S.Debus The Barking Owl in New South Wales 53
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