top of page

Did you know: Another threatened Australian Species - the “Powerful Owl” 🎥

Updated: Nov 4, 2019

There is something magical and mysterious about owls. They have been held in special regard by both ancient and modern cultures, symbolising fortune and wisdom.

The largest Australian owl, named Powerful Owl (Ninox strenua) inhabits wet forests and woodlands throughout south-eastern Australia and has an impressive wingspan of over 1 metre.

The species plays an important part in the ecosystem as a top-level predator in the forest ( and is a carnivore, eating mainly medium to large tree-dwelling mammals, roosting birds, sometimes rabbits and small marsupials.

They need good quality habitat and large territories to find enough food - however, this kind of landscape is quickly disappearing throughout urban environments. The Powerful Owl is now listed as a threatened species - adding to the long list of endangered animals and plants in this country due to human activities like urbanisation, deforestation and introduced species like foxes.

Powerful Owl - males reaching weights of up to 2.2 kg and standing 65 cm tall with a wingspan of 135 cm

The Powerful Owl mates for life (over 30 years in some cases) and pairs defend useful territory throughout the year. The male prepares the nest, which is usually a vertical hollow in a large old tree, and provides the female and young with a constant supply of food during the early part of the nesting period. The female incubates the eggs and broods the young, emerging later in the nesting period to hunt for food as well. Young birds remain with the parents for several months after fledging and may stay within their parents' territory for over a year.

The Distribution of the Powerful Owl, South-eastern Australia - Wikimedia Commons, 2010

The Distribution of the Powerful Owl, South-eastern Australia - Wikimedia Commons 2010

Despite their impressive size, little is known about the ecology of Powerful Owls, particularly those birds who adapted to living in cities.

Regardless of the classification as threatened species in all Australian states, momentarily those owls can survive within cities and are found throughout the suburbs of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane where Eucalypt Forests and bushland remnants are close by.

However, increasing urbanisation is likely to impact the long-term tenacity of the Powerful Owl and with further human activities they are likely to reach their “breaking point”.

Australia has a desperately poor record when it comes to habitat and endangered species protection. The Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife Australia remarks:

“Is this the Australia we want to leave to those that come after us? Without a lasting form of protection, habitat can be degraded or destroyed. Australia has lost 75% of its rainforests and nearly 50% of all forests in the last 200 years, and our high rate of species extinctions is the result. When habitats aren’t managed for conservation, invasive weeds and feral animals can cause huge problems. Many of our native species are found nowhere else on earth, so if we lose them, the world loses them forever.”

🎥 (2:55) Powerful Owl - Pair Bonding Behaviour - they mate for life, which can be over 30 years

YouTube BIBY TV, published on 17 Apr 2017

Further information of the Powerful Owl may be found here:



Australian Geographic, 2017 (viewed 21.10.2018)

Australian Museum, 2018 (viewed 21.10.2018)

Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife Australia (viewed 21.10.2018)


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page