This small owlet has a rounded head and is finely barred all over. Jungle Owlets' plumage on the upper parts is dark black brown barred with white. The wing coverts have white and rufous patches. The primaries and secondaries are dark brown and barred with pale chestnut. The lower side is whitish or pale rufous barred with black. There is a whitish patch on the chin, upper breast and centre of the abdomen. The iris is yellow, the bill and tarsi are greenish and black claws.

Habitat and Distribution

These birds are found in India and the dry zone of Sri Lanka. Their habitat ranges from scrub forest to deciduous and moist deciduous forests. The Jungle Owlets occur south of the Himalayas but found in some parts of the Himalayas to about 2000 m. Extends from Dalhousie in the west east to Bhutan.


The Jungle Owlets are known to capture small Phylloscopus warblers during the day, but their peak foraging hours are an hour before sunrise and after sunset. Their diet consists of insects, small birds, reptiles,rodents.


The breeding season in India is March to May and they nest in the hollow of a tree at a height of 3 to 5 metres. The typical clutch consists of four eggs.

Calls and Songs

Jungle Owlets' call is distinctive and consists of a rapid series of prao..prao.prao-prao-prao that increases and then fades in volume before ending abruptly. Young nestlings produce tick calls.