Family Typical Owls (Strigidae)

Least Concern

Bismarck Boobook (Ninox variegata)


French: Ninoxe bariolée German: Bismarckkauz Spanish: Nínox de las Bismarck
Other common names: Bismarck Hawk-owl, New Ireland Boobook

Noctua variegata

Quoy and Gaimard

, 1830,

Carteret Harbor, New Ireland, Bismarck Archipelago


May form part of a species-group centred on N. squamipila (which see). Sometimes treated as monotypic, but race superior is clearly distinguishable in plumage, as well as being larger#R. Species sometimes referred to, erroneously, as N. solomonis. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • N. v. superior E. J. O. Hartert, 1925 – New Hanover (Bismarck Archipelago).
  • N. v. variegata (Quoy & Gaimard, 1830) – New Ireland (Bismarck Archipelago).
  • Descriptive notes

    23–30 cm; no data on body mass. Smallish to medium-sized Ninox (wing length 192–224 mm) with greyish-brown head, chocolate to rufous-brown upperparts and... read more


    Gruff, grunting somewhat frog-like, repeated, disyllabic “kra-kra kra-kra” or... read more


    Forested lowlands, hills and lower mountains from sea-level to at least 1000 m elevation.

    Food and feeding

    Presumably insects; habits little known.


    1 newly fledged young in Apr; no other information.


    Undescribed; presumably resident.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Restricted-range species: present in New Britain and New Ireland EBA. No data on population size or trend, ecology or... read more

    Recommended citation

    Olsen, P.D. & Marks, J.S. (2019). Bismarck Boobook (Ninox variegata). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 7 December 2019).