- Conservation status
Laughing owls were twice the size of the ruru, living across Aotearoa. But once stoats, ferrets and weasels were introduced in the 1880s, these nocturnal predators suffered a rapid decline. Laughing owls had a range of calls, including shrieks, coo-ees, and even barking sounds. The last recorded specimen was found dead in Canterbury in 1914, but unconfirmed reports continued into the 1930s and perhaps later.
Larger than our still-living Morepork, Laughing owls were a good deal chunkier, and were quite the impressive birds!
Not only did they have a call that sounded like your crazed neighbour, they also left behind a treasure trove in regard to their pellets, which have been a great resource for understanding the extent of ancient New Zealand ecosystems and what was around back then, even if it was done so in a less-than dignified way by way of the owls.
Let's laugh our way through the polls and to victory!
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