Mottled Owl (species: Ciccaba virgata) in US Lower 48 Birds (Gaia Guide)
Ciccaba virgata
Mottled Owl

©Dominic Sherony: Mottled Owl (Ciccaba virgata)

©Dominic Sherony: Mottled Owl (Ciccaba virgata)

©Amy McAndrews: Mottled Owl (Ciccaba virgata)
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Strigiformes
Family Strigidae
Genus Ciccaba
Species Ciccaba virgata



Distinguishing features

Females are considerably larger than males; the mottled owl shows the greatest degree of sexual dimorphism of any species of owl. The crown, nape and back are mottled in several shades of darkish brown, the facial disc is pale brown and the throat, breast and belly are off-white with distinctive vertical brown streaks. The large eyes are brown, the beak is greyish-yellow or greyish-blue, and the legs and feet are greyish-yellow. There is a darker form of the bird with a buff breast and belly. (Wikipedia)


  • Up to 40 cm (Length of specimen)


  • Up to 104 cm



Distribution and habitat preferences

The mottled owl is native to Central and South America. Its range extends from Mexico south to Argentina and Brazil and it is found at elevations up to about 2,500 m.

It inhabits a variety of wooded habitats including rainforest, woodland verges, dry thorn forest, pine/oak woodland and plantations and also open countryside with scattered trees. In some parts of its range it is common and it is often found close to human habitations. (Wikipedia)

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