Family Typical Owls (Strigidae)

Least Concern

Mottled Wood-owl (Strix ocellata)


French: Chouette ocellée German: Mangokauz Spanish: Cárabo ocelado

Syrnium ocellatum


, 1839,

Pondicherry, India


Race grisescens intergrades with nominate ocellata in N India. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. o. grisescens Koelz, 1950 – from base of Himalayas in NW India S to about Rajasthan, and E to Bihar#R#R.
  • S. o. grandis Koelz, 1950 – S Gujarat (Saurashtra Peninsula), in W India.
  • S. o. ocellata (Lesson, 1839) – peninsular India; single record from W Myanmar considered dubious#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    41–48 cm; no data on body mass. Facial disc white with concentric black barring, and some rufous-orange mottling; upperparts grey, mottled and vermiculated with reddish... read more


    Main breeding-season vocalization described as quavering “chuhuawaarrrr”; during other... read more


    Wooded plains and lowland hills, open woodlands, clumps of mango trees, tamarind and banyan groves... read more

    Food and feeding

    Rats, mice and other rodents, and small birds up to size of Rock Dove (Columba livia); also crabs, lizards, and large insects such... read more


    Lays Nov–Apr, Feb–Mar in N; in WC India, earliest nesting observed was 10 Feb, latest young fledged 20 May. Nest usually in... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Uncommon in India; no recent records from Pakistan, where extremely rare or possibly even extinct. Status in Myanmar... read more

    Recommended citation

    Holt, D.W., Berkley, R., Deppe, C., Enríquez Rocha, P., Petersen, J.L., Rangel Salazar, J.L., Segars, K.P., Wood, K.L. & Marks, J.S. (2019). Mottled Wood-owl (Strix ocellata). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 10 December 2019).