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Scientific Name:

Uroglaux dimorpha

Population Status:

Least Concern

Body Length:

30-34 cm


200-225 mm


Data Deficient

What makes a raptor a raptor?

Did you know?

  • The Papuan Hawk-owl is also known as the Papuan Boobook.
  • The Papuan Hawk-owl has been documented feeding on the Wompoo Fruit-dove, which measuring in at 35 to 45 cm (14 to 18 in) - is larger than the the owl itself.

Though The Peregrine Fund doesn't work directly with Papuan Hawk-owl, our efforts in scientific research, habitat conservation, education, and community development help conserve raptors on a global scale. We also supply literature to researchers from our avian research library, which helps scientists around the world gather and share important information on raptor conservation.

The Papuan Hawk-owl is found only in New Guinea, the second largest island in the world and located off the coast of Australia, and on Yapen Island.

Though very little is known about this species, and it is rarely seen, scientists believe it lives mainly in rainforest, forest edges, and in gallery forests within savannas. It has been documented from sea level to about 1,500 meters above sea level.

The Papuan Hawk-owl is a lovely, medium-sized owl with a distinctly small head, long tail and relatively short wings. Its belly is very heavily barred and its facial disk is white with thin black streaks. It also has bright white eyebrows and yellow eyes. Its back and tail are mix of rust, ochre and brown patterns. Unlike the Great-horned Owl, the Papuan Hawk-owl doesn't have any ear tufts - feathers that stick up on the sides of its head that fairly resemble ears.

If you read the above paragraph carefully, you learned that this owl (like all owls) has a facial disk. Right about now, you might be asking yourself what, exactly, is a facial disk. The facial disk is composed of feathers that form a circle around the bird’s face. The disk can be lifted or lowered at will. When the feathers of the facial disk are raised, they help direct sounds to the birds’ ears, which are located on the sides of its head. To find out how this works, cup your hands behind your ears and listen. You might notice that whatever you are listening to seems louder.

The Papuan Hawk-owl uses its incredible hearing in order to listen for prey, of course! But, it also needs to hear well in order to find and communicate with others of its species. This species likely has many different vocalizations or calls, but one call in particular has been described as a sad, low, hoot.

The Papuan Hawk-owl is considered a species of Least Concern, mainly because of its relatively wide range. When a species is classified as Least Concern, this means that scientists believe its population is currently healthy and likely will be in the future. However, despite its wide range, biologists believe the Papuan Hawk-owl to be quite rare, in general, and there is evidence that its population is slightly decreasing. This may be due to loss of habitat due to logging. However, scientists are unaware of how well this species may adapt to survive in habitat that has been altered by humans or other factors.

The Papuan Hawk-owl has a varied list of things it likes to eat. It may feed on crunchy insects, small, soft rodents, and even other birds.

Sadly, very little is known about the breeding biology of the Papuan Hawk-owl. This would be a great species to study for any budding biologists out there!

The visitor center at our World Center for Birds of Prey includes owls among its avian ambassadors. Though we do not have a Papuan Hawk-owl in our avian ambassador family, we do have a lovely Eurasian Eagle Owl and a Western Screech Owl, that both enjoy visitors. This is a great chance to see owls up close and learn about the wonderful and interesting adaptations they have in order to survive in their respective habitats. There is also a touch table with owl feathers and other natural objects available for exploration. And, our knowledgeable staff and volunteers are always on hand to answer any questions you might have about Papuan Hawk-owls or any other raptor.

Photos needed! If you are a photographer and would be willing to donate photos of for use on this site, please email us.