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Lesser Masked Owl - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Rob Hutchinson
Yamdena,Tanimbar Island, Indonesia, October 2007

Alternative names: Moluccan Masked Owl; Tanimbar Owl

Tyto sororcula

Includes: Seram Masked Owl


29-31cm. A small Masked Owl.

  • Brownish upperparts mottled white
  • Whitish underparts with dark spotting on sides
  • Pale legs covered only with flesh-coloured bristles
  • cayelii slightly larger, more tawny buff over all, more blackish upperparts
  • almae with yellow-ochre underparts, more dusky on middle and lower back

Females larger as males. Juveniles undescribed.


Found on Tanimbar, Buru and Seram (Indonesia).
A poorly known restricted-range species.


Three subspecies recognized:

  • T. s. sororcula on Tanimbar Island
  • T. s. cayelii on Buru Island (Southern Moluccas)
  • T. s. almae on Seram Island (Southern Moluccas)

almae is recognized as full species by Clements, however the other worldlists don't yet follow this treatement and the Opus awaits further clarification.


Primary and mature secondary forest.


No information about diet or breeding.
Presumably a resident species.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, B.L. Sullivan, C. L. Wood, and D. Roberson. 2012. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to October 2012. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019. Spreadsheet available at http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/downloadable-clements-checklist
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliot, and J Sargatal, eds. 1999. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 5: Barn-Owls to Hummingbirds. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8487334252

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