709. BARN OWL.
Aluco flammeus (Linn.), Syst. Nat. i. p. 133 (1766) ; (Naum.) i. p. 483, Taf. 47, fig. 2 ; (Hewitson), i. p. 61, pl. xviii. fig. 1 ; (Gould), B. of E. i. pl. 36 ; (id.), B. of Gt. Brit. i. pl. 28 ; Newton, i. p. 194 ; (Dresser), v. p. 237, pl. 302 ; (Sharpe), Cat. B. Br. Mus. ii. p. 291 ; (Audubon), B. of Am. pl. 171 ; (Blanf.), F. Brit. Ind. Birds, iii. p. 264 ; (Saunders), p. 291 ; (Lilford), i. p. 109, pl. 51 ; S. pratincola, Bp. Comp. List. p. 7 (1838) ; Ridgway, p. 255 ; S. javanica, Gmel. Syst. Nat. i. p. 295 (1788) ; S. perlata, Licht. Verz. Doub. p. 59 (1823) ; S. furcata, Temm. Pl. Col. i. pl. 432 (1827) ; S. delicatula Gould, P.Z.S. 1836, p. 140 ; S. pinctatissima Gray in Darwin’s Zool. Beagle. Birds, p. 34, pl. 4 (1841) ; S. poensis, Fraser, P.Z.S. 1842, p. 189 ; S. africana, Bp. Rev. and Mag. de Zool. 1854, p. 540 ; S. indica, Blyth, Ibis, 1866, p. 250 ; S. affinis Layard, B. of S. Afr. p. 42 (1867) ; S. insularis, Pelz. J. f. O. 1872, p. 23.
Effraye commune, French ; Coruja das torres, Portug. ; Lechuza, Span. ; Barbagianni, Ital. ; Schleiereule, German ; Kerkuil, Dutch ; Perlugle, Dan. ; Tornuggla, Swed. ; Sepoocha, Russ. ; Youka, Moorish ; Bafa, Arab. ; Kuraya, Hindu. ; Ghubad, Mahr.
Male ad. Upper parts orange buff, vermiculated with grey and spotted with dark grey and white ; quills and tail barred with blackish grey ; facial disk silvery white, the space immediately round the eye dull rufescent ; ruff white tipped with orange and blackish grey ; under parts white, more or less spotted with blackish grey ; bill ivory white ; iris blue-black. Culmen 1.3, wing 11.2, tail 4.8, tarsus 2.4 inch. Female similar but larger. Throughout its range there is besides the above white form a dark form in which the upper parts are much darker and greyer, and the under parts vary from pale orange-buff to rich dark tawny.
Hab. Europe generally, from Denmark to the Mediter¬ranean, and from the Azores, Canaries, and Madeira to the extreme east, but is very rare in Sweden and not found in Finland. Subject to climatic variation, it is found throughout Africa and Madagascar, the Indo-Malayan, Australian. Poly¬nesian, Nearctic (except in the more northern portions) and Neotropical areas ; in Asia it does not appear to occur in Mongolia, E. Siberia, or Japan.
In its habits the Barn Owl is strictly nocturnal, and unless disturbed it does not leave its retreat during daylight. The note is a loud, harsh, weird shriek, and both the old and the young birds utter a deep snoring sound. Its food consists of rats, mice, moles, large insects, small birds, occasionally also of fish, but chiefly of mice. This Owl nests in hollow trees, towers, churches, barns, and dovecotes, not making any nest, and in April or May deposits 4 to 6, occasionally 7 white eggs, more elongated in shape than those of the other Owls, rather dull and glossless, averaging about 1.55 by 1.21.
709. Aluco flammeus
709. BARN OWL.