Eastern Grass Owl

Tyto longimembris

A medium-sized (32 to 42m) masked owl with long legs and a somewhat skinny appearance, the Eastern Grass Owl is known for its frequent low level (5 metres above the ground) hunting glides and hovering at night, and otherwise general ground-dwelling habits. It is easily confused with other similar owls, namely the paler and more greyish Barn Owl T. alba and larger and more robust Masked Owl T. novaehollandiae. The male Eastern Grass Owl has a white face, while the female has a buff face with dark flecks, but both are pale underneath and a combination of sandy brown and blackish above. Both also have the characteristic heart-shaped facial disc. Ood consists mainly of small mammals (mostly rodents), but small birds and insects are also eaten. Nesting takes place on the ground, under dense grass tussocks, and numerous tunnels lead to and from the nest.