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Brown Wood Owl

Strix leptogrammica


45 - 57cm

60 - 80cm

0.8 - 1.1kg

5 - 10 yrs





The brown wood owl, sometimes known as the Asian brown wood owl or simply Asian owl is – predictably – found in parts of south Asia, including much of China and Indonesia It is a part of the family of owls known as typical owls (Strigidae), which contains most species of owl. It belongs to the earless owl genus Strix.

Least Concern




It is primarily a dark brown, with faint white spotting on the shoulders and a lighter tone with dark streaking on the underparts. Its facial disc is also brown, yet bears a striking white edge which frames its eyes, and a white “collar” around its neck. The sexes are similar in appearance, although the females are larger in size.

What Does it Look Like?


What Does it Sound Like?


They are particularly vocal on moonlit nights. The song of the male is a vibrating “who-whoowwwwooh", often repeated at intervals of a few seconds. The alarm call is a barking “wow wow”. Some subspecies are known to produce distinct vocalisations, to the point where they could be considered unique species when taken with their different appearance.


Very little is known about the hunting behaviour of the brown wood owl, however like similar owls it is thought to feed primarily on small mammals, specifically rodents such as mice, rats and shrews. It will also prey on small bird species as well as frogs and reptiles. Apparently, it has been seen occasionally feeding on fish.

What Does it Eat?


Where Does it Nest?


It appears to be very reclusive, and its specific breeding rituals have not been thoroughly observed. In southern India, the mating season lasts from January to March, and the nest takes the form of a tree hollow, perhaps in a forked trunk. The typical clutch size tends to be just two eggs, with only the stronger of the two chicks surviving in most cases.


It inhabits landmasses around the Bay of Bengal, from the southern tip of India to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, then east to Indonesia, Taiwan, and parts of China. It can also be found along the Himalayas, such as in Nepal. It usually resides in dense tropical forest along the sea coast, but can also be seen in lowland areas.

Where Does it Live?


What is its Status?


Due to its elusive nature, a true estimate of its population has yet to be established. Although it is thought that numbers are slowly declining, its range throughout Asia is vast enough to not be considered a concern to conservationists, and no immediate threats have been identified. More in-depth research is required to ascertain the number of breeding pairs.

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