The Mottled Wood Owl is a large owl, which lacks ear tufts and is mottled and vermiculated in reddish brown and white. The face disc is marked with fine concentric black and white barring. The sexes are alike. The chin is white. The eyelid is orange and the iris is dark brown. The tail is barred narrowly in brown and black. The concentric barring on the face and mottled crown separate it from the brown wood owl in southern India.
These owls roost in the day, usually in pairs. When disturbed they may fly in bright sunshine although they choose to shelter within a dense grove of trees.
They feed on palm squirrels, mice and other small mammals.