Though usually active only when dusk has fallen or before daylight, moreporks may sometimes appear in the forest during the day and then run the risk of being noisily mobbed by any songbirds in the vicinity.
Rich spotted or streaky brown in colour, moreporks have a brown face and golden eyes, though the latter are seen only at their best in bright light when the pupil is fully contracted. Food is mainly insects, but bats, small birds, and even rats, mice, and lizards will be taken when opportunity permits. Undigested material is disgorged in the form of pellets. In common with other owls, moreporks have excellent and accurate hearing and an almost silent flight.
Mating occurs in September. Between October and December a nest is made in a tree hole or in a thick clump of the perching astelia or kiekie. In most instances two eggs are laid; incubation takes about a month and the young leave the nest some five weeks later. The life span in the wild is 5 to 11 years.
The morepork’s scientific name is Ninox novaeseelandiae.
Did you know? A morepork motif appears in the wide staring eyes of certain Maori carvings.
Click here to the call of the ruru