Breeding Biology of the Mottled Wood-Owl (Strix ocellata) in West-central India

Satish Pande, Reuven Yosef, Prashant Deshpande, Rajkumar Pawar, Murlidhar N. Mahajan

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The Mottled Wood-Owl (Strix ocellata) is a poorly studied species endemic to the Indian subcontinent. During nine nesting seasons from 2005-2016, we studied 15 breeding pairs near Pune, west-central India. Important nest tree species were mango (Mangifera indica, 52%) and tamarind (Tamarindus indica, 22%). Habitat in plots with a 0.5-km radius centered on the nest comprised a mosaic of agricultural landscapes (41.9 ± 17.7%), deciduous/scrub forests (16.8 ± 21.8%), natural grasslands (15.0 ± 8.2%), human habitation (11.2 ± 8.5%), streams/rivers (10.1 ± 4.6%), and low hills (5.0 ± 5.8%). In a subset of five nests where the entire breeding cycle was studied, the average clutch size was 2.6 eggs (±0.5 SD, n = 20 breeding attempts eggs laid), of which an average 2.2 (± 0.4) young hatched, and 1.9 (±0.8) young fledged/breeding attempt. In addition, among ten other pairs where the nests were detected at the stage of fledging of young, an average of 1.6 young (±0.7, range = 1-4) fledged/successful nest. The primary nesting season from egg-laying to fledging lasted from 10 February until 20 May. From 1033 pellets analyzed, we identified 711 prey, including insects (39%), small mammals (rodents 10%; shrews 21%, bats 3%), birds (11%), and reptiles (9%).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-244
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Raptor Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2018


  • India
  • Mottled Wood-Owl
  • Strix ocellata
  • breeding
  • diet
  • nesting
  • prey
  • reproductive rate


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