Greater Sooty-owl Tyto tenebricosa


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as probably rare (Konig et al. 1999).

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in decline owing to on-going habitat destruction.

Distribution and population

Tyto tenebricosa has a large range along the west coast of Australia and on New Guinea (Indonesia and Papua New Guinea).


In Australia, it prefers deep, wet gully forest dominated by eucalypts, occurring in drier forest only when hunting; in New Guinea it occurs in lowland and montane rainforest and Araucaria pine forest, emerging into subalpine grassland and alpine boulderfields and ridges at altitudes of up to 4000 m to hunt (Bruce 1999).


There is some fragmentation of its former habitat, but in other areas, rainforest is rapidly expanding.


Text account compilers
Symes, A., Taylor, J. & Temple, H.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Tyto tenebricosa. Downloaded from on 08/08/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 08/08/2020.