Northern Boobook

This species is defined as a rarity. Please submit your records of this species via our record submission page.

Scientific Name: Ninox japonica
Malay Name: Pungguk Betemak Utara
Chinese Name: 北鹰鸮

Breeding Range: (OR) Russian Far East to Korea, Japan; Taiwan

Polytypic. Subspecies are: florensis, japonica, totogo.

Size: 30-31 cm

Similar to Brown Hawk-owl. Overall brown colouration with large, yellow eyes and small, white patch above bill. Field identification from Brown Hawk-owl is tricky with this bird possessing more elongated, teardrop-shaped streaking compared to the rounder, more heart-shaped streaks of the local subspecies of the Brown Hawk-owl. This bird also possesses proportionally longer wings than the resident species, however, this is hard to make out in the field. 

Similar looking species: Brown Hawk-Owl

Habitat: While on migration will make use of any habitat with trees, including scrubland and other areas outside of the closed forests that characterise our central reserves. 

Behaviour/Ecology: Long-distance migrant from eastern Asia. Vocalisations are highly distinct from local Brown Hawk-owl, but calls rarely in its wintering grounds. 

Local Status: Uncommon migrant

Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2016)

Past accepted records in our database: Showing the most recent 10 records. See more on our database page.

Past records, bar chart (see more bar charts):


External Links:
Conservation Status: IUCN Red List Page
Photos: Oriental Bird Images
Sound Recordings: xeno-canto Link
Wikipedia Entry: Wikipedia Link
eBird Species page: eBird (Northern Boobook)

BirdLife International. (2016). Ninox japonica. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016. Accessed on 19 December 2021

Jeyarajasingam, A., & Pearson, A. (2012). A Field Guide to the Birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. Oxford University Press.

Robson, C. (2014). Field guide to the birds of South-East Asia (Second Edition). Bloomsbury Publishing, London.