Masked Owl?

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rawshorty
rawshorty's picture
Masked Owl?

I thought it was a barn owl but Brandon seems to think a Masked Owl?

Any ideas?

Barn Owl-7180 by rawshorty, on Flickr">[/url] Barn Owl-7180 by rawshorty, on Flickr

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Barn Owl-7184 by rawshorty, on Flickr">[/url] Barn Owl-7184 by rawshorty, on Flickr

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Barn Owl-7177 by rawshorty, on Flickr">Barn Owl-7177 by rawshorty, on Flickr

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The darker,more consistent colour on the wings suggests it's a Masked Owl. (I think)

ihewman
ihewman's picture

Can I borrow your photo so I can ask some other birders for a definite ID? Although, I am sure it is a Masked Owl... it is just too dark for an Australian Barn Owl. Simpson and Day describe the Masked having a crouched posture, and I have noticed that Barn Owls tend to have a more upright stance. Also, Barn Owls have half-feathered legs whereas your bird has almost fully-feathered legs. That heart disk is definitely distinct too! The top of a Barn Owl's disk is hardly noticeable because it's so fine and light in colour and blends into the top of the head.

Brandon (aka ihewman)

pacman
pacman's picture

ihewman wrote:

Can I borrow your photo so I can ask some other birders for a definite ID?

Shorty said that he was going to the ANBGardens to chase the reported Powerful Owl. I suggest that you just email a link to this page

Peter

rawshorty
rawshorty's picture

Hi, Brandon. Feel free to use these ones with my watermark. It would be good to know for sure.

bird-7184 by rawshorty, on Flickr">[/url] bird-7184 by rawshorty, on Flickr

bird-7180 by rawshorty, on Flickr">bird-7180 by rawshorty, on Flickr

bird-7177 by rawshorty, on Flickr">bird-7177 by rawshorty, on Flickr

Shorty......Canon gear

Canberra

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rawshorty/ 

Holly
Holly's picture

David and I are sitting here and leaning towards Masked Owl but not 100% sure. I have emailed the link through to owl guru Rod Kavanagh for his thoughts.

 

 

SteveM
SteveM's picture

There seems to be majority support for Masked, so I'll vote for Barn.cheeky  Hopefully we'll get a good explanation from Rod.

rod.kavanagh
rod.kavanagh's picture

Hi all,

Thanks for the vote of confidence.  Actually, the bird is not difficult to identify.  Many features indicate Barn Owl, but the photo 7180 is the "money shot".  Notice the presence of the three, or possibly four, black bars on the leading wing feather?  This indicates that the bird is definitely NOT a Masked Owl. Masked Owls have at least 6 black bars on the leading wing feather (see photographic plates in HANZAB if you need more evidence).  It is also worth looking at the plates in Simpson and Day - particularly in relation to the white/black spot patterns at the ends of the body/back feathers (useful for separating Barns from Grass Owls).

All the best,

Rod

rawshorty
rawshorty's picture

Thanks, Rod. I really appreciate you taking the time to clear this up for me. I was hoping it was a masked but it was still an awesome experience to witness this beautiful bird. And thanks, Holly for passing this on to Rod.

Shorty......Canon gear

Canberra

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rawshorty/ 

ihewman
ihewman's picture

I have also been informed that this bird is most likely a EBO... and now that it has explained to me, I have changed my mind. Our local "expert" says that colour is not a reliable ID key, but look for the dark caps on the specks of the wing. If they're pointed (like witches hats) it suggests EBO rathere than MO which has rounded caps. Sorry, this was all my fault... I started all this. So, Barn Owl it is!

Brandon (aka ihewman)

dna1972
dna1972's picture

Hi

Noting Rod's comment, I was not even seeing the bars well enough at first, but then could see them clearly. I have a couple of good EBO shots in flight indicating the bars Rod is talking about.

See faint bars on primary feathers here: http://amatteroflight.com/gallery2/d/1104-5/Barn-Owl_3390.jpg

The better one showing the barring more prominently here: http://amatteroflight.com/gallery2/d/1002-5/Barn-Owl_3011.jpg

I have seen more EBOs than one could poke a stick at and am also pretty confident in ID-ing them. This is definitelty an Eastern Barn Owl even at first look based on the look alone. For me another excellent ID feature clearly visible is the long, bare (unfeathered) legs with not so heavy talons. Masked Owl have heavily feathered legs with MASSIVE feet. With a roosting owl I'd check feet, spots and facial disc features first if the wings are folded, so you're lucky here. Although the facial disc can be difficult with a day roosting owl as they tend to scrunch their faces up at times.

Here is an excellent photo showing the Masked Owl's incredible feet! Also, note the overall appearance is vastly different to the EBO. Not my photo, just a google image search.

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3406/3506328380_e20ed42a65.jpg

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