Identifying tips: Pueo vs Barn owl
The Pueo can be distinguished from the introduced Barn Owl by appearance as well as hunting behavior.
Smaller & slender body
with relatively longer wings and tail than Barn owl.
Mottled pale brown underparts with upper breast streaked dark brown.
Mottled pale and dark brown upperparts.
Overall impression in flight of a large brown bird (but underparts can look almost white).
Rounded brown face
often indiscernible ear tufts
Both nocturnal and diurnal, they can be seen hunting in daylight in suitable habitat.
A male’s rarely heard song is a low ‘boo-boo-boo-boo-boo’, whilst females give a ‘ree-yow’ call.
with relatively shorter wings and tail than Pueo.
White and gold
Largely white underparts.
Golden buff upperparts with grey markings.
Overall impression in flight of a large white bird.
White, heart-shaped face.
Often seen at night whilst driving but dawn and dusk sightings are most common.
Shrieks and hisses
Barn Owls don’t hoot! They shriek, hiss and snore.
Lives mainly in open farmland habitat (not woodland).
Seen but not heard, they call rarely.