|Conservation status||Least concern|
The mottled owl (Strix virgata) is a species of owl found in the tropical forests of Central and South America.
The mottled owl reaches a length of between 11.8 to 13.7 inches. Its plumage is dark brown on the upper side with bright spots, with the underside white or yellow-brown with distinct dark-brown stripes. There are several color variants in which the mottling of the upper side changes into a striation, depending on the region in which they are found. The birds of the Amazonian forest are, however, reddish-brown, slightly larger and have an orange-yellow striation. The face veil is very well developed and delineated by white feathers.
- Strix virgata borelliana; eastern Paraguay to southeastern Brazil and northeastern Argentina (Misiones)
- Strix virgata centralis; southeastern Mexico (Oaxaca and Veracruz) to western Panama
- Strix virgata macconnelli; Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana
- Strix virgata squamulata; Mexico: Sonora to Guerrero, Guanajuato and Morelos
- Strix virgata superciliaris; Brazil: north-central to northeastern Amazon River basin
- Strix virgata tamaulipensis; Mexico: southern Nuevo León and Tamaulipas
- Strix virgata virgata; eastern Panama to Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador; Trinidad
Mottled owls are very frequent within its overall range; it is active at night, feeding on small birds, reptiles, and insects. Breeding is in April to May and the female places two dirty brown eggs in a tree cave or the abandoned nest of a bird of prey.
Mottled owls are one of four species formerly of the genus Ciccaba; genetics suggested a closer relationship to birds of the genus Strix than was previously believed, resulting in a change of classification.