After discovering this beautiful owl on the Internet with no information about it, I was on a mission to find out what subspecies did it belong to. I was in love with its coloring and had never seen one quite like it before.
I went to many Owl sites on facebook such as "The Owl Pages" and no one could help me with a name.
I knew that if anyone could solve the mystery it would be The Barn Owl Trust Conservation Officer Matthew Twiggs.
He indeed came up with a answer.
The Australian Masked Owl (Tyto novaehollandiae)
The facial disk is white and has short brown feathers around dark brown or black eyes forming a heart shaped outline. They are blackish brown with grey and white spots on the upper body.
The Masked Owl inhabits forests, woodlands, timbered waterways and open country on the fringe of these areas. The main requirements are tall trees with suitable hollows for nesting and roosting and adjacent areas for foraging. The range is a broad coastal band around most of mainland Australia and throughout Tasmania, and for the most part is less than 300 km from the coast. Population numbers are low on the mainland and several states give this species special conservation status. This owl is widespread and abundant in Tasmania.
Its unfortunate this Tyto is living in the Royal Melbourne Zoo, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.
Whilst Masked Owls are closely related to Barn Owls, they can be distinguished from the more widespread Barn Owl by way of their more intensely defined facial disk, pearl pink bill, heavily defined markings on wings and mantle, and heavier feathering down both tarsi, reaching almost to their very large and muscular feet. A small male Masked Owl may be only slightly larger than a large female Barn Owl, but female Masked Owls can be up to twice the size of a Barn Owl.