Family Barn-owls (Tytonidae)

Data Deficient

Lesser Masked-owl (Tyto sororcula)

Following the taxonomy applied to HBW Alive, derived from the HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World, this taxon is now lumped within Australian Masked-owl (Tyto novaehollandiae).


French: Effraie des Tanimbar German: Molukkeneule Spanish: Lechuza de las Tanimbar
Other common names: Tanimbar Owl

Strix sororcula

P. L. Sclater

, 1883,

Larat, Tanimbar Islands


Forms superspecies with T. novaehollandiae, T. aurantia, T. manusi, T. nigrobrunnea and T. inexspectata. Sometimes treated as conspecific with T. novaehollandiae. Race cayelii may represent a separate species; Seram population may represent an undescribed race. Species name often misspelt sorocula. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution

Descriptive notes

c. 29–31 cm. Nominate race is smallest member of masked-owl group; upperparts brownish, mottled white, underparts whitish with dark spotting on sides, and pale legs... read more




Presumably rainforest (Buru, Seram) and primary and mature secondary monsoon forest (Tanimbar).

Food and feeding





Presumably sedentary.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. CITES II. Restricted-range species: present in Banda Sea Islands EBA and Buru EBA. Data-deficient. Apparently rare, and no current data on numbers or... read more

Recommended citation

Bruce, M.D. (2019). Lesser Masked-owl (Tyto sororcula). 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 10 December 2019).