Small, stocky owl with large head and no neck. Pointed ear tufts are often raised. Varies in color from gray to bright rufous (reddish-brown). Intricate pattern is perfect for camouflage against tree bark. Yellow eyes. Active at night when they prey on small birds and mammals. More often heard than seen; listen for its descending whinny and longer trill. Roosts and nests in cavities, including nest boxes. Found in a variety of habitats with trees, particularly near water.