New Zealand has a dear little owl species. When I was a little girl I grew up in a home on the bank of a river, and often at night I heard the call of the morepork owl (ruru) or the swamp hen (pukeko) and the familiar calls always make me feel safe and cosy even now.
The other night I was sitting in my study on dusk and not one but a pair fluttered into the strawberry tree just outside the window. What a thrill! I've heard morepork in most of the 14 years we've been here, but it was wonderful to actually see them for the first time. Looks like we'll have some babies too!
They are tiny owls, as adults no more than 30 cm (12 ins) and you can see better pictures and hear their distinctive 'more-pork, more-pork' call and also their screech here.
I took this photo at dusk on a tramp (hike) back from Ketetahi Springs in the central North Island.
Post Script: The link I gave doesn't record the repetitive nature of the call, whereas this Department of Conservation one does. You can hear another owl or two answering too.