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Species Guide
A photo of a Brown Wood Owl (Strix leptogrammica)
Brown Wood Owl

Brown Wood Owl

Strix leptogrammica

The Brown Wood Owl, Strix leptogrammica, is a medium to large owl, measuring 45 to 57 centimeters in length. It boasts a uniform dark brown plumage on its upperparts, with subtle white speckles adorning the shoulders. The underparts are a paler buff, elegantly streaked with brown. A distinctive facial disc is presented in shades of brown or rufous, framed by a white edge, and notably lacks concentric barring. The eyes of this species are a deep, dark brown, and a prominent white neckband can be observed. Both sexes share a similar appearance, making them indistinguishable in the field.

Identification Tips

When identifying the Brown Wood Owl, look for the lack of ear tufts, characteristic of the genus Strix. The white neckband and the absence of concentric barring on the facial disc are key features. The dark brown eyes are also a distinguishing trait, as many owl species have lighter colored eyes.


This species is highly adapted to life in dense forests, where it spends much of its time in the seclusion of thick foliage.


The Brown Wood Owl is native to a range of countries across Asia, including India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Taiwan, and southern China. It is a resident breeder throughout these regions.


The Brown Wood Owl is a creature of the night, seldom seen during daylight hours. It is often betrayed by smaller birds that mob it while it roosts, a common defense mechanism among avian communities against predators.

Song & Calls

The vocal repertoire of the Brown Wood Owl includes a series of hoo hoo hoo HOO, a deep goke-goke-ga-LOOO, and at times, a loud scream. When alarmed, it emits a bark-like sound, wow-wow. Subspecies exhibit variations in their calls; for instance, the Himalayan Wood-Owl subgroup produces a soft low to-hooh, reminiscent of a rock dove's coo, while the Javan Wood-Owl delivers a forceful, singular HOOH with lengthy intervals between each call.

Diet and Feeding

The diet of the Brown Wood Owl primarily consists of small mammals, birds, and reptiles, which it hunts under the cover of darkness.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List classifies the Brown Wood Owl as Least Concern, indicating that, currently, there are no immediate threats to its population numbers that would warrant a higher risk category.

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Brown Wood Owls on Birda


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