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Cutest pair of rare morepork owl chicks give hope to the species' survival

They're the first chicks to survive for 10 years

morepork owl
Carla Challis
Commerce Partnerships Editor
18 May 2020
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There are only around 50 Norfolk Island morepork owls left on the planet – so the discovery of a pair of fluffy morepork owl chicks on the remote Australian island is amazing news for the species! The cute chicks are the first for a decade to survive to become fledglings, and experts are hailing them as a "significant moment" for one of the Australian Government’s priority threatened species. The Norfolk Island morepork owl is one of the rarest species of owls in the world and when fully grown, is brown in colour and has a well-known 'double hoot' call.

morepork owl adult© Parks Australia

The Norfolk Island morepork owl is one of the world's rarest species of owl

"The fledgling owls are being closely monitored by Norfolk Island National Park staff and researchers from Monash University," said Director of National Parks James Findlay. "The health of the new birds continues to be assessed and a very close eye will be kept on them as they grow and reach full maturity." 

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In the 1980s, the Norfolk Island morepork owl population declined so significant it was left with just one single female. She was paired with two male owls from a New Zealand subspecies and the cross-Tasman relations meant that all subsequent generations of moreporks on Norfolk Island were now a unique hybrid of the Norfolk Island and New Zealand morepork owls.

morepork owls© Parks Australia

The morepork owl chicks were found by Parks Australia staff

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Parks Australia staff at Norfolk Island National Park have worked closely with the Norfolk Island community and researchers to help the species recover over 40 years. Threatened Species Commissioner Dr Sally Box said the Norfolk Island morepork owl was one of 20 priority birds targeted for recovery under the Australian Government's Threatened Species Strategy.

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