Brisbane-area, Nocturnal, White tail and body...??? Completely stumped

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kyfly88
kyfly88's picture
Brisbane-area, Nocturnal, White tail and body...??? Completely stumped

Hello everyone

Would love to know if anybody here may be able to assist me in shedding some light on a beautiful bird sighting in my backyard last night. I have trawled through the internet over the last 24 hours to no avail, and this one even has my avian-aficionado Pop stumped. Here are the details:

Metropolitan Brisbane area (Morningside)

Sighted at 12:20am

A white tail, that was wide like that of an owl

A white body, about 25-30cm in height (not including tail)

And, please bear with me lol, a small dove or pigeon shaped, white head that was out of proportion with the size of its body and tail. I didn’t see the shape of its beak, but I had a great visual on the rest of its body so I thought I might be able to identify this bird through internet image searches based on that and circumstances of the sighting alone.

Also, I believe it was hunting because it flew back down towards the longer grass area of our backyard from the clothes line and quickly after I heard a few mouse squeaks and then a loud crunch. We have great conditions in our yard and under the house for rodents; our 3 cats have been bringing us a lot of these rodent ‘gifts’ lately, and they rarely did before.

I saw a bird fly away from our backyard a few minutes later that looked to be a Kookaburra or some sort of Kingfisher, due to the distinctive beak, however I really can’t be sure this was even the same bird.

So after looking up all 11 aus owl species, and then just ‘nocturnal Australian birds’ - which doesn’t include the diurnal Kookaburra... I am well and truly stumped. Would love to hear any thoughts whatsoever you may have about this sighting, and if anybody could point me in the direction of other methods to help me identify this bird I would be truly grateful for that too!

Thanks everyone for your time, happy bird-watching! Ky

Lightuningbird
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Barn owl? If you’ve been needing screeching, that’s what it is. They don’t hoot, like most owls.

Wimmera mally region, Vic.

timmo
timmo's picture

Sounds interesting, Ky!

Tawny frogmouths can look vaguely kookaburra-ish, and are kind of pale, but not white and definitely not the small head you are talking about.

Not sure I can help too much, but good luck with it.

Cheers
Tim
Brisbane

AJ Anderson
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Pacific Baza has a pigeon shaped head. It can appear white, being pale grey and white.

Though they are diurnal hunters.

Letter-winged Kite however hunt at night and are white...

timmo
timmo's picture

That's really interesting AJ! I had no idea there were traditional raptors that hunt at night.

Cheers
Tim
Brisbane

Lightuningbird
Lightuningbird's picture

Never new that, and yes thire heads are pigeon shaped. Seen black shoulded kites and a few letter winged kites here. Reasently had a mouse plague, so Thor population graitly increast. Haven seen them in ages...must be nomadic. Sadly, I reasently also found that one of them dead on the back lawn...I dunno what happned, but I could see no injuries. 

Dunno much about bazars, don’t get the down here. So I’m gonna say letter winged kite as they are wite.

Wimmera mally region, Vic.

kyfly88
kyfly88's picture

Thank you so much AJ, the letter-winged kite was indeed the bird I saw that night! I've never heard of them before until now. It is a truly beautiful, and from what I've read, interesting species. I'm very grateful to have been able to see it as it seems to be a fairly rare bird. Thanks again ☺

Thank you to everyone who offered assistance as well, very much appreciated!

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