Boobooks Owl - Ninox boobook - 'Indi' and 'Ruru'

Indi aerial

Indi is one of the favourite characters at the Centre. He is one of the smallest owls we have, who can really demonstrate an alternative way of hunting for food. 

In the wild he would catch all of his insect prey on the wing, or snatch it off plants, and Indi does just that in the barn. A small owl originating from New Zealand, Australasia and New Guinea, living in almost any habitat, and existing almost entirely on insects. To this end they need to keep very active, and very fast, burning up a great deal of energy to capture a meal.

Indi delights all our visitors as he hawks for food, and snatches it off the 'pounce box'. He really enjoys his flying.  Many of our New Zealand visitors fall in love with him instantly!

Ruru is our new youngster who joined us in 2014.  The New Zealnd Morepork owl is believed to have originated from the underworld, and is strongly associated with spirits in Maori mythology, and many stories surround the Morepork or Ruru.  It is believed that if a Morepork sits conspicuously nearby or even enters a house there will be a death in the family.   In times gone by these strong beliefs led to some Taranaki Maori eating these lovely little owls, believing that it would prolong their lives.  The ancestral spirit of a family group can take the form of a Ruru (Morepork) in Maori tradition.  This spirit is kown as the Hine-ruru, the 'owl woman'.  It is believed that these owl spirits can act as kaitiaki or guardians and have the power to protect, warn and advise!  Strangely, I have often been called The Owl Lady in the past 30 years!  :)


Indi will be retiring in 2017 so we look forward to Ruru's adolescent years as he discovers himself!