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Lord Howe Boobook
Lord Howe Boobook
Illustration by Henrik Grönvold
Information
Common Name Lord Howe Morepork
Range Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea, part of New South Wales, Australia.
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Strigiformes
Family Strigidae
Genus Ninox
Species Ninox novaeseelandiae
Ninox novaeseelandiae albaria
Conservation Status
EXSpecies
Extinct

The Lord Howe boobook (Ninox novaeseelandiae albaria), also known as the Lord Howe morepork, was an extinct subspecies of boobook in the Strigidae family. It is endemic to Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea, part of New South Wales, Australia. It is an extinct and little-known subspecies of the morepork (Ninox novaeseelandiae).

Description

he Lord Howe boobook was similar in appearance to other subspecies of the Southern boobook, being a small brown hawk owl with white-mottled plumage, paler than other subspecies. Measurements taken from museum specimens indicate that it was smaller than most mainland Australian subspecies of boobook but larger than both the New Zealand and Norfolk Island subspecies.

Distribution and Habitat

The Lord Howe boobook was restricted to Lord Howe Island where it inhabited the native forests as well as occurring around the settlements.

Status and Conservation

Exactly when the Lord Howe boobook became extinct is uncertain. Boobook calls were apparently heard on the island until the 1950s, but during the 1920s boobooks from near Sydney in eastern Australia had been introduced, along with barn owls and masked owls, in an unsuccessful effort to control the black rats that had overrun the island. The rats had been accidentally introduced in June 1918 with the grounding of the steamship SS Makambo, and several of Lord Howe's endemic birds disappeared during the next few years. The endemic boobook may have been extirpated by rat predation, owl predation or owl competition, and the calls heard until the 1950s may have come from either the endemic or the introduced boobook subspecies, or both.

There are specimens of the Lord Howe boobook in the Australian Museum.

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