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Mottled Wood Owl - BirdForum Opus

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Nominate subspecies
Photo by ragoorao
Mysore, Karnataka, India
Strix ocellata


Subspecies S. o. griscens
Photo by obasanmi
Bandhavgarh, India

41–48 cm (16¼-19 in)
A large, earless owl with a white facial disk with concentric black barring and splashes of rufous. Mottled crown and white throat-patch. Upperparts grey, mottled and vermiculated with reddish-brown, black, white and buff.
Northern subspecies grisecens larger.

Similar Species

Told from Brown Wood-Owl Strix leptogrammica by facial disk and mottled crown.


South Asia. Mainly in India from Jammu to the Ganges plains, Gujarat and in most of the Peninsula. Formerly also in Pakistan but no recent records. May occur also in Burma, further investigation needed. Locally common.


Three subspecies regognized[1]:

  • S. o. grisescens:
  • S. o. grandis:
  • West India (Kathiawar Peninsula of southern Gujarat)
  • S. o. ocellata:
  • Peninsular India


Gardens and thin deciduous forests. Likes mango trees, tamarind and banyans.


Nocturnal, roosting in pairs or small groups by day.


Feeds on small birds and mammals.


Breeding time is from February to April. The nest is usually in tree holes. Lays 2 eggs.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

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