Fun Rufous Owl Facts For Kids

Abhishek Mishra
May 09, 2023 By Abhishek Mishra
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Yashvee Patel
Read on for fantastic facts about Rufous Owl.

The Rufous Owl (Ninox rufa) is quite a big bird. The species belongs to the family of typical owls, also known as Strigidae. As the name suggests, these owls have rufous-colored feathers and small heads. Also, their back, head, and neck are reddish-brown while the underparts are barred.

Males generally have broader heads compared to female rufous owls. The owl is also known as Rufous Boobook. The breeding season lasts from June to September.

The species is primarily found in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Australia. Both the male and females are huge. Even their babies or young owls are large! The International Union for Conservation of Species has listed the species in the Least Concern category.

Keep on reading to learn more interesting facts about the Rufous Owl. If you want to know more exciting information about different animals, check out black-necked stilt and stork facts.

Rufous Owl Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Rufous Owl?

The Rufous Owl is a large-sized bird. These owls are carnivores and primarily prey on insects, birds, and mammals such as flying foxes.

What class of animal does a Rufous Owl belong to?

The rufous owl belongs to the Aves class, the family of Strigidae, and the Ninox genus.

How many Rufous Owls are there in the world?

The exact population of the Rufous Owl (Ninox Rufa) is not known as of now but these owls are not widely spread. The species is listed as Least Concern by the IUCN.

Where does a Rufous Owl live?

These birds are generally found in several regions of Australia such as the Aru Islands, Arnhem Lands, Queensland, Cape York Penninsula, and many more. The Rufous boobook is the exclusive tropical owl in the country. Also, these dark rufous owls are found in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

What is a Rufous Owl's habitat?

The Rufous owls are majorly spotted in the rainforests, savannas, forested gullies, and wetlands.

Who does Rufous Owl live with?

Just like other species of owls, these dark rufous owls are also solitary and love to live alone. They are shy and nocturnal which means the owl remains active during the night. But during the breeding season, they come in pairs.

How long does a Rufous Owl live?

No data on the rufous owl lifespan is available as of now.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding process starts with the courtship behavior in which the male tries to attract the female owl with his voice. The female owl also trills in response to the male owl.

The breeding season lasts from June to September. The female rufous owl lays around one to two eggs in a nest in the trunk of the trees. The incubation period lasts for more than a month.

Also, parental involvement can be seen for many months. The average length of the young owls varies from 1.9-2.1 in (49-54 mm).

What is their conservation status?

The International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed the owl in the Least Concern category.

Rufous Owl Fun Facts

What do Rufous Owls look like?

One of the greatest predators, found in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Aru Islands, and a major part of Northern Australia, these reddish-brown owls are quite dangerous. They calmly search for their prey and even chase big mammals.

The back, head, and neck of the owl are reddish-brown while the underparts are barred. The babies or the young owl are also quite big compared to other juveniles of birds. Tropical rainforests are the major habitat of the bird.

A staring Rufous Owl.

How cute are they?

Unlike other birds, people generally don't consider owls as cute birds. The dark rufous owl is a large-sized bird. Also, they are solitary and maintain distance from humans. The birds could also attack humans. Their neck, head, and upper wings are dark brown, while the underparts are barred that looks scary.

How do they communicate?

The rufous owl (Ninox rufa) follows the same methods of communication as other owls. They mostly remain silent but during the breeding season, both male and female owls communicate using calls to attract each other.

How big is a Rufous Owl?

The dark rufous owls are quite big, the average length and weight of the species are approximately 1.5-3.7 lb (700-1700 g) and 18-22 in (46-57 cm), respectively. Even the young owls are  1.9-2.1 in (49-54 mm) in length. The Rufous owl is thrice the size of the Elf owl.

How fast can a Rufous Owl move?

The exact speed of these dark brown owls is not known at the moment but they are best known for their predatory skills. The owl prey on mammals while flying which is a rare characteristic. Also, the owl gets very active during the breeding season. They can move quickly if someone comes closer to the nest.

How much does a Rufous Owl weigh?

The average weight of a rufous owl is 1.5-3.7 lb (700-1700 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific male and female names for the rufous owl species.

What would you call a baby Rufous Owl?

No particular name has been given to the babies of the rufous owl. They are generally referred to as young or juvenile owls.

What do they eat?

The Rufous owls are strong predators. They are known to feed on insects, birds, and small mammals including flying foxes. They hunt their prey while in the air. Small rodents and possums can also make up part of their diet. It has also been observed that their diet can vary seasonally depending on the prey available to them.

Are they poisonous?

Rufous owls are not poisonous and do not possess any threats to humans. But these large-sized owls could attack humans if provoked and tries to come closer to the nests.

Would they make a good pet?

Owls are rarely friendly to humans and people also do not consider them as pets as they are very big and can easily attack humans. Also, their eating habits are different from most pet birds. These birds are also not very affectionate with domesticated animals. It is advised not to pet them as they belong to the wild.

Did you know...

Generally, the selection of the nest is done by the male owl and the nest is constructed at a higher altitude to save the eggs from predators.

The male rufous owl has a low-pitched voice compared to the female owls.

The rufous owl is the largest in Australia. Among Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Australia, a huge population of rufous owls is found in Northern Australia.

The species of this brown Rufous Owl was first described by an ornithologist from the United Kingdom, John Gould. There are more than three subspecies of the rufous owls such as Ninox rufa queenslandica, Ninox rufa humeralis, and Ninox rufa rufa.

Are they predators?

Yes, the rufous owls are often considered one of the greatest predators. From birds to mammals, these large birds prey on a variety of animals such as flying foxes, rodents, northern brushtail possums, sugar gliders, and northern brown bandicoots. The bird usually observes from the nest and chases its prey, and sometimes also snatches it from the water.

How high can they fly?

The exact distance has not been recorded yet but as they are carnivores, the owl can easily fly at higher altitudes while chasing birds.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including the tawny owl and Kirtland's warbler.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Rufous Owl coloring pages.

‍Thank you to Kidadler Andreas Ruhz for providing the image of Rufous Owl in this article.

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Written by Abhishek Mishra

Bachelor of Arts specializing in History

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Abhishek MishraBachelor of Arts specializing in History

As a content writer, Abhishek's passion for writing extends beyond professional content creation. With a Bachelor's degree in History from Ram Lal Anand College in Delhi, Abhishek is a skilled writer in both English and Hindi, bringing a creative flair to his work. He enjoys crafting satires and poetry and is dedicated to producing engaging and informative content.

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Fact-checked by Yashvee Patel

Bachelor of Business Management

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Yashvee PatelBachelor of Business Management

Yashvee has won awards for both her writing and badminton skills. She holds a business administration honors degree and has previously interned with social media clients and worked on content for an international student festival. Yashvee has excelled in academic competitions, ranking in the top 100 in the Unified International English Olympiad and placing second in an essay-writing competition. Additionally, she has won the inter-school singles badminton title for two consecutive years.

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