Home / Our Animals » Birds » Natives » Morepork

Natives

Morepork

Morepork

Ninox novaeseelandiae

Distribution:

Throughout New Zealand

Habitat:

Forests, parks, plantations

Diet:

Insects, rodents, lizards, spiders and birds

Breeding:

August-December

Nest:

Usually in tree hollows, but also in thick clusters of leaves etc above ground or even burrows in banks.

Eggs:

Two eggs laid two days apart, incubated for 30 to 31 days from laying the first egg

Chicks:

Until the young are feathered, the female stays in the nest during the day and only leaves to hunt at night. Owlets are mainly fed on birds (offered in pieces) and insects. When they are older the food is left whole in the nest. Fledged at around 34

Predators:

Introduced mammals and larger birds of prey

Conservation status:

Not threatened, endemic and protected

General:

A nocturnal bird, these tend to roost in thick foliage during the day. If disturbed, they will glide to another suitable spot. They are territorial and may roost in the same spot each day.

Competition from the introduced Little Owl in the South Island and loss of forest habitat have reduced the numbers of this small native owl. Hunting is by claw or beak, often in flight. Large prey is torn to pieces while held in one or both feet.

Maori thought of the Ruru as a messenger, possibly an ancestral spirit. A Ruru showing unusual behaviour, such as entering a house or being active during the day, was thought to signify death or the arrival of an important visitor.