New Zealand has, or rather had only two native owls. Sadly the Laughing Owl is almost certainly extinct, although a few dedicated enthusiasts still search hopefully. Our other native is the Morepork, or Ruru. Both names refect its quite distinctive call.
Morepork are common on Stewart Island and we see them quite regularly on Ulva Island where I work as an Eco Guide. This year we have had one small Rimu tree beside a trail quite favoured as a day perch, initially with what I think was a parent and juvenile, and later in the summer by what I presume was the parent. The juvenile having probably left to establish its own territory.
Morepork are somewhat territorial and will call to indicate teritorial presence. This may often be answered by birds in neighbouring territories, and if numbers and still conditions are suitable the resulting choruses can be quite spectacular.
Diet is mainly insects and lizards if available. Small birds will be taken and also rats and mice. They will also take our native bats, although these are now so rare that they must be an inconsequential part of its diet.
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They are quite placid when roosting during the day and photo & video shown here were taken from a distance of no more the 3 or 4 metres. As with so many preditor species they are detested by other birds that may be prey species. We often,as you can hear in the video soundtrack,drawn to the scolding of bellbirds, brown creepers and the like who have discovered a sleeping Morepork.