General Description

Large bird with variable plumage. Dark brown to light chestnut with white speckling. Three distinct colour morphs: light, intermediate and dark. Heart-shaped facial disk chestnut to white with dark margin, around bill and below eyes. Feathered legs. Females larger and darker in colour. 50 cm in total length.

Biology

Nest is a bare chamber inside a tree hollow, lined with soil, sand and mulch. Females incubate the 2-3 eggs, while males provide food. Nocturnal, with hunting taking place in the early hours of the night. Prey includes small mammals, other birds, reptiles and insects. The Tasmanian subspecies (T. castanops) is considered Endangered in Tasmanian threatened species legislation and Vulnerable in the equivalent Commonwealth legislation. A subspecies from the Tiwi Islands (T. melvillensis) is listed as Endangered in the Northern Territory.

Distribution

Across Australia.

Habitat

Caves, woodlands and timbered waterways, in mature trees with suitable nesting hollows close to foraging areas.

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