He comes from a land down under!

Three stages of Bookbook - from 1 week to 5 weeks

As regular readers of the blog will be aware, we have had a good breeding season at SOS this year and would like to introduce our latest member of the ‘team’ - one which adds another degree of international dimension to the Owls that reside here.

‘Auckland’ (or ‘Auckie’ as he is affectionately known) was hatched here at the centre in May and has proved to be quite a character. He is the second chick that our pair of Boobook Owls, Darwin and Tasmin have produced: his training went very well and he has already become a valued member of the display team.

Boobook Owls are native to Australia, New Zealand and New Guinea - a small brown owl which is about as common as our own Tawny Owl in terms of numbers in the wild.

Bookbook Owls inhabit woodland areas and though especially favouring Eucalyptus plantations, can be found almost anywhere where there are trees including even in inner city parks. They primarily catch insects - either in flight, straight off the ground or by picking them from vegetation. The Boobook may also take small mammals such as mice, and even bats & birds up to the size of Sparrows. They will also take lizards basking in the early morning sun on rocks and tree trunks.

Getting its name from the distinct “boo - book” call it makes, Boobooks breed between August to October, building nests in tree cavities. They lay 2 - 3 eggs which are incubated for up to 35 days: the young will be ready to fledge by the time they are 5 weeks old and usually remain with the parents for a further 2 - 3 months.

Although widespread and unthreatened in the wild, the introduction of the Little Owl to New Zealand about 60 years ago has given the Boobook competition for nesting sites and food, tough this has not proven to reduce the native numbers.