The Mottled Wood Owl is a medium-sized yellowish-red owl with a rounded head and no ear-tufts.
Photo Gallery (6 pictures)
Description: The facial disc is whitish, and finely barred concentrically with blackish-brown. Eyes are dark brown and eyelids are dusky
pink or dull coral-red. The bill is horn-black with a paler tip. The nape is white and black, mixed with a chocolate colour.
Upperparts are mottled and vermiculated with reddish-brown, black, white and buff. There is prominent black spotting on the nuchal area.
The throat is chestnut and black, stippled with white. The rest of the underparts are white with golden-buff to orange-buff and with narrow blackish bars.
The toes are brownish-flesh or dirty yellowish-brown with yellow soles. Claws are horn-black.
Size: Length 41-48cm. Wing length 320-372mm. Tail length 174-215mm. Weight data unavailable. Females are likely larger than males.
Habits: The Mottled Wood Owl is a generally nocturnal bird. Roosts during the day on a branch hidden among foliage, in pairs or sometimes family groups.
Voice: In breeding season, the male utters a loud, shivering, hollow, 'laughing' call - "Chuhuawaarrrr", which is the territorial song. Both sexes also give a single, metallic hoot, as well as multiple conversational hoots. Occasionally gives a harsh screech similar to a Barn Owl.
Hunting & Food: Feeds on rats, mice and other rodents, as well as birds up to the size of a domestic pigeon. Also takes lizards, crabs, beetles and large insects.
Breeding: The breeding biology of the Mottled Wood Owl is little known. Breeding season is generally February to April. Nests are in natural hollows. Normally 2, sometimes 3, creamy-white eggs are laid, averaging 51.1 x 42.6mm.
Habitat: Lightly wooded plains, open woodland and groves of mature trees on outskirts of villages and cultivated land.
Distribution: Throughout most of India, to the Himalayas.
Status: Common and widely distributed.
Original Description: Lesson, Rene Primevere. 1839. Rev.Zool. Revue Zoologique, par la Societe Cuvierienne (Rev. Zool.; Journal mensuel publie sous la direction de M. F. E. Guerin-Meneville) 2: p. 289.