General Description

Australia's smallest nocturnal bird (night-active bird). Looks like a miniature owl with cat-like whiskers. In northern Australia they have reddish-brown wings, back, tail, head and breast and an off-white belly. In southern Australia the reddish-brown is more greyish-brown. A dark brown crescent curves from the top of the eye, over the head and returns around the side of the head to under the eye. Dainty pink feet. Underside of tail is barred.


Roosts during the day in a tree hollow from which it can occasionally be seen peering out. In the evening its grated "chirr-chirr-chirr" is commonly heard. It also occasionally calls during the day. Feeds mainly on insects, caught whilst in flight or on the ground. Pairs mate for life and occupy a permanent territory. Their nest is in a hollow in a tree trunk, dead branch or occasionally a fence post and is lined with green leaves. They lay 3 to 5 white rounded eggs.


Across Australia.


Woodlands, forests and scrublands with suitable nesting and roosting hollows.

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