Morepork (Ninox novaeseelandiae novaeseelandiae)

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Morepork,

(Ruru)

morepork

Morepork roosting quietly during the day.

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.

[flowplayer src=’https://focusingonwildlife.com/news/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/morepork-lead-in.mp4′ width=640 height=480 splashend=show splash=’https://focusingonwildlife.com/news/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/IMG_1211.jpg’ autoplay=false]
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.

Peter Tait

Peter Tait

Peter Tait is a professional nature guide based at Stewart Island, New Zealand, and he works primarily on Ulva Island Open Sanctuary. Peter has been resident on the Island for over 40 years and was one time Forest Ranger in Charge of Stewart Island. Fishing followed forestry and was in turn followed by Talisker, a 17m charter yacht. He is qualified Skipper Deep Sea Fishing Vessel. In addition to guiding Peter and his wife Iris are hosts at Sails Ashore Lodge.

Peter Tait

Peter Tait

Peter Tait is a professional nature guide based at Stewart Island, New Zealand, and he works primarily on Ulva Island Open Sanctuary. Peter has been resident on the Island for over 40 years and was one time Forest Ranger in Charge of Stewart Island. Fishing followed forestry and was in turn followed by Talisker, a 17m charter yacht. He is qualified Skipper Deep Sea Fishing Vessel. In addition to guiding Peter and his wife Iris are hosts at Sails Ashore Lodge.

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Donkey
Donkey

I believe you’re right about the parent/juvenile photo. Juvenile on right, nearly in adult plumage. I’ve just finished raising a baby from ball of fluff with eyes to adult plumage.  A beautiful and very intelligent little bird. Must get back to the island after a gap of too many years. 

camping trailer

He is indeed very pretty! Look at those feathers!

Steven Scott

Nice photos and interesting post.