Mottled owl

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Mottled Owl
Mottled Owl 1.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom Information
Domain Eukaryota
Kingdom Animalia
Subkingdom Bilateria
Branch Deuterostomia
Phylum Information
Phylum Chordata
Sub-phylum Vertebrata
Infraphylum Gnathostomata
Class Information
Superclass Tetrapoda
Class Aves
Sub-class Neornithes
Infra-class Neoaves
Order Information
Order Strigiformes
Family Information
Family Strigidae
Sub-family Striginae
Genus Information
Genus Strix
Species Information
Species S. virgata
Synonyms Ciccaba virgata
Population statistics
Conservation status Least concern[1]

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 and 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.[2]