Family Typical Owls (Strigidae)

Least Concern

Halmahera Boobook (Ninox hypogramma)


French: Ninoxe d’Halmahera German: Halmaherakauz Spanish: Nínox de Halmahera
Other common names: Halmahera Hawk-Owl

Athene hypogramma

G. R. Gray

, 1861,

Bacan and Halmahera


Until recently treated as conspecific with N. squamipila (which see), along with N. hantu and N. forbesi, but molecular evidence has been invoked to suggest species status#R, this being supported by field studies#R. Present species is distinct from N. hantu by virtue of its underparts being reddish-brown with dense, equally spaced barring (dark rufous and white) vs reddish-brown with vestigial (pale rufous and cinnamon) barring (3); upperparts much darker brown with no rufous tone and with crown to nape darker still vs uniformly rich rufous (2); tarsi densely feathered to toes vs sparsely feathered (3); considerably larger size (effect size for wing 4.11, score 2); probably also by bill colour (dark vs pale in specimens, but ns); and different voice#R(allow 2). It is distinct from N. forbesi (with which it shares feathered tarsi) by having underparts reddish-brown with dense, equally spaced barring vs plain reddish-brown breast with strong equal rufous and white barring on belly (one male) or pale rufous and white barring throughout (one female) (score 1); upperparts much darker brown with no rufous tone and with crown to nape darker still vs uniformly rich pale rufous (very vague capped effect) (3); mostly dark leading edge of wing with no or few white tips on coverts vs mostly white leading edge with white tips on coverts (2); larger size, notably in tail length (effect size 4.41, score 2); different voice, a “barking urgh urghvs “monotonic, double-noted ku-kuk...; also a single frog-like gurr”#R (at least 2). It is separated from N. squamipila by characters given under that species. Monotypic.


Halmahera, Ternate and Bacan group, in N Moluccas.

Descriptive notes

c. 39 cm; >200 g. Medium-sized boobook, largest among Moluccan Ninox (wing length 220–241 mm, tail length 140–157 mm), with greyish-brown head, white... read more


Song composed of two-note phrases, the notes rather gruff and guttural, and the phrases typically... read more


Lowland tropical rainforest and tall secondary forest from sea-level to c. 1200 m.

Food and feeding

No information. Presumably takes insects like other Moluccan Ninox.


No information.



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Restricted-range species found in Northern Maluku EBA. Like all members of the Moluccan Ninox complex, very little... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Marks, J.S. (2020). Halmahera Boobook (Ninox hypogramma). 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 19 January 2020).