Tawny owl bird is a medium-sized broad-winged owl with a dumpy, hunched shape and large rounded head. Tawny owl bird is brown all over, mottled and variegated with darker markings and with paler brown-streaked underparts. It shows two obvious pale stripes on the crown and some pale spotting on the scapulars and covert tips. The large facial disc is plain brown with a narrow blackish rim, and the large eyes are black. It occurs in both grey and rufous phases, the latter being commonest in Britain.
Tawny owl bird is essentially a woodland bird, but can be found wherever large old oaks and other mature broad-leaved trees occur, such as parks, gardens, churchyards and wooded farmland, as well as in mixed woodland and mature coniferous forest. It is the most familiar and widespread owl in our region, even penetrating urban areas if habitat is available.
The song or advertising call is a series of hollow-sounding hooting notes, mistakenly described by the layman as "too'whit-too'woo". Sung by the Tawny Owl Bird (male), the initial note is a strong hoot, followed by a pause of 2-4 seconds, then a short introductory hoot swiftly followed by a shivering sequence of rapid 'hoo-ing', with a longer final hoot being comparable in strength to the first, as in "hoooooo.......hu'- hu'hu'hu'hu' hoooooh!" or "hwaooow.......hw'- hwa'ow'ow'- oooow". The female sometimes gives a shorter, simpler hooting in a similar pattern, and both sexes give a loud sharp contact call "ke'vick" or "ae'wick", rising quite sharply on the second note. A variant of this is sometimes repeated sharply in alarm as "kvik kvik kvik". A rarely heard bubbling trill is also given by both sexes during courtship, quite similar to the call of Tengmalm's Owl but audible only at close range. Juvenile birds make a "psee'hip" call.