Tasmanian Masked Owl
Tasmanian Masked Owls (Tyto novaehollandiae) are not only large, but robust. They weigh up to 1.26 kilograms (2.8 lb) with a wingspan of up to 129 centimetres (51 in). Their plumage is mainly a variable combination of browns and greys, generally darker than the other Australian subspecies. Their upperparts are dark brown to pale chestnut, with white speckling. Females are considerably darker, as well as larger, than the males, ranging from 43 to 57 centimetres (17 to 22 in) in length, compared with the males’ 35 to 42 centimetres (14 to 17 in). They have broad, black-bordered, buff to chestnut facial discs, and fully feathered legs with powerful feet and long talons.
The owls hunt at night, preying on a wide range of animals, from insects to mammals as large as rabbits, bandicoots and brushtail possums. The main diet includes introduced rodents and rabbits in agricultural areas, and marsupials and native birds in less disturbed habitats. They often hunt from perches using sound to detect prey, which is usually taken on the ground by striking with the feet and using the talons to pierce and kill.