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.

Brownish

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).

Round face

Rounded brown face

 

Yellow eyes

Black bill

Small ears

often indiscernible ear tufts

Often diurnal

Both nocturnal and diurnal, they can be seen hunting in daylight in suitable habitat.

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Hoots

A male’s rarely heard song is a low ‘boo-boo-boo-boo-boo’, whilst females give a ‘ree-yow’ call.

pueotk44
pueotk44

Mottled pale brown underparts with upper breast streaked dark brown.

Tom Kualii pueo3
Tom Kualii pueo3

Overall impression in flight of a large brown bird (but underparts can look almost white)

tomkualiipueo1
tomkualiipueo1

Rounded brown face, yellow eyes and short, often indiscernible ear tufts

See how facial disc form can change

Largely white underparts

Golden buff upperparts with grey markings

White, heart-shaped face with dark eyes

paler bill than Pueo

Heavier body

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.

Heart-shaped face 

White, heart-shaped face.

Dark eyes

Ivory bill

No ears

 

Nocturnal

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.

Call - Barn Owl (Tyto alba)
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Alert calls nestlings - Barn Owl (Tyto alba)
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Song - Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)
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Call - Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)
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Alarm call - Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)
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