Taronga’s two Sooty Owls, Dragon and Phoenix, were born in August 2012. Dragon was born two days before Phoenix. Their trainer, Grey Fisher, has been working with them since they were just a few days old - getting them aclimatised to human contact and helping them get ready for their big debut at the Bird Show.
The story of their progress became one of the most popular features on Taronga’s Facebook page, and after gradually being introduced to the crowds at the Bird Show, Dragon made her debut in September 2013. Phoenix will be making her debut very shortly, so keep an eye out for updates!
Dragon and Phoenix are both females. Female Sooty Owls are larger than males, and grow to around 33cm. Dragon and Phoenix are of the subspecies ‘multipunctata’, which means ‘many spots’. Sooty Owls are found from New Guinea all the way down the east coast of Australia, but the natural habitat for the multipunctata subspecies is just one small pocket of Queensland. They live in tree hollows and their main food is rats and mice, and as with many owl species they are nocturnal in the wild.