A saluki friend in New Zealand, Graham Bond, often sends us bird of prey photos. Most recently, he captured these images of “Rurus” (Ninox novaeseelandiae, also known as “Morepork”), agile little insect- eating owls, catching moths in his porch lights.
“These are a couple of poor quality photos that I managed to get of the Ruru. As you can see it is quite a small owl – the fence rail is 100mm deep – and large moths would provide a fair meal. However they are a true raptor as I have also seen them catch sparrows that often roost around the house and also starlings.”
He is right about the raptorial character of Ninox owls. The largest, the powerful owl of Australia, eats flying foxes and large possums. They are also called hawk owls (not to be confused with the arctic hawk owl, Surnia ulula, sole member of a single- species genus) because of “their long tail, narrow wings, and poorly developed facial disk..” (Handbook of Birds of the World).
I think they are delightful pocket raptors.