Family Typical Owls (Strigidae)

Least Concern

Tasmanian Boobook (Ninox leucopsis)


French: Ninoxe de Tasmanie German: Tasmankuckuckskauz Spanish: Nínox tasmano
Other common names: Spotted Boobook

Athene leucopsis


, 1838,



Formerly treated as a race of N. boobook (which see) or, on molecular basis, of N. novaeseelandiae, but recently treated as a separate species#R#R, on basis of “DNA evidence…allopatric distribution…and some external similarity to its Australian counterpart”. In fact, is notably different from Australian boobook by virtue of smaller size (allow 2), much darker, richer brown coloration (2), more extensive spotting above, much more spotting vs streaking below (2) and different voice (allow 3); differs from similarly (but perhaps not identically) voiced N. novaeseelandiae in its larger size (effect size for male wing, based on published data#R, 3.75; score 2), albeit with same-length tail (allow 1), paler brown coloration which shades paler on lower underparts so that undertail-coverts whitish where New Zealand birds rusty-buff (2), more spotting on head and neck (1), whiter spotting below (1), and feet pinkish-grey#R vs buffy yellow to orange-buff (ns[1]). Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

Tasmania and Bass Strait islands.

Descriptive notes

28–30 cm; male average c. 190 g, female average c. 214 g. Smallish boobook (wing length 198–222 mm) with poorly developed facial disc, round wings and longish... read more


Main call a series of two-noted hoots very similar to that of N. novaeseelandiae. read more


Treed and semi-open lands, including swamplands, farmlands and residential areas.

Food and feeding

Little information. Like other boobooks, diet probably dominated by invertebrates, supplemented with small vertebrates.


Poorly known. Presumably nests in tree cavities like other boobooks. Post-fledging dependency period reported to be 6–7 weeks.


Poorly known. Thought to be largely resident, although speculation that some birds move to... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Widely distributed and fairly common, but no information on population size or trends. Suggested to suffer from competition... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Marks, J.S. (2020). Tasmanian Boobook (Ninox leucopsis). 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 25 January 2020).