This small (26 to 29 cm) owl is endemic to Christmas Island, and is instantly recognised by its bold rufous and white barring on the underparts and reddish-brown back and wings (juveniles are paler, with whitish down). The large round eyes have a bright yellow iris. It is the only owl species on Christmas Island (which should aid identification), and was formerly considered to be a subspecies of the Moluccan Boobook N. squamipila from Seram and Buru Islands in the Moluccas, Indonesia. It is nocturnal, roosting during the day in trees (often around the Golf Course and Territory Park) and hunting at night on insects. It nests in tree hollows, which are generally high within denser wooded areas, and pairs maintain a territory. Two eggs are laid in a typical clutch, which are seemingly incubated solely by the female. Its loud ‘boo-book’ call often betrays its presence at night.