Barking owls are a ‘hawk owl’ lacking the facial disc of the barn owls. They hunt mainly by sight rather than sound.
They get their name from the distinctive doglike ‘wook-wook’ call and have an alarm call that European settlers believed was the sound of a screaming woman.
Barking owls are found in open eucalypt forests, woodlands and tree-lined waterways.
With as few as 50 breeding pairs in Victoria, their numbers have declined dramatically. Loss of habitat and land degradation are major threats, together with secondary poisoning from baiting regimes.