1156. Asio otus.
The Long-eared Owl.
Strix otus, Linn. Syst. Nat. i, p. 132 (1766). Otus vulgaris, Fleming, Brit. An. p. 56 (1828); Horsf. & M. Cat. p. 79; Jerdon, B. I. i, p. 125; Stoliczka, J. A. S. B. xxxvii, pt. 2, p. 17; xii, p. 231; Hume, Rough Notes, p. 361; Jerdon, Ibis, 1871, p. 345; Doig & Butler, S. F. vii, p. 503. Asio otus, Lesson, Man. d'Orn. i, p. 116; Blyth, Cat. p. 35; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. n, p. 227; Hume, Cat. no. 67 ; Biddulph, Ibis, 1881, p. 45; Scully, ibid, p, 424; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 63; St. John, Ibis, 1889, p. 154.
Coloration. Lores and anterior portion of disk whitish, bristly ends of feathers black; round eye and streak from front of eye to gape blackish brown; posterior portion of disk tawny, tinged with brown; ruff dark brown inside, speckled brown, white, and buff outside ; aigrettes blackish brown, with the basal outer border buff, the inner border white; upper parts dark brown, mottled with white on the crown, back, rump, scapulars, wing-coverts, and tertiaries, the buff bases of the feathers showing here and there throughout; the neck is buff, broadly streaked with dark brown, the dark streaks slightly mottled at their edges ; quills tawny buff, the terminal half greyish, mottled with brown, and barred with mottled dark brown; tail-feathers buff, mottled with dark brown near the ends and with dark bars throughout; lower parts buffy white, with broad brown shaft-stripes, and with imperfect, narrow, wavy and broken cross-bars on the abdomen only, some buff from the bases of the feathers showing; tibial and tarsal feathers and under tail-coverts unstriped buff; wing-lining buffy white, with a brown patch at the base of the primaries.
Bill blackish brown ; cere fleshy; irides bright yellow to orange ; claws horny black, paler at base (Hume).
Length 14.5 ; tail 6.5 ; wing 11.5 ; tarsus 1.6 ; bill from gape 1.
Distribution. The Pala:arctic region, visiting N. Africa, the Himalayas, and North-western India in winter. This Owl probably breeds in the higher Himalayan forests, and has been obtained from Kashmir to Sikhim. It is not rare in -winter in the Punjab, and has been collected in Sind by Butler and Doig, in Cutch by Stoliczka.
Habits, &c. The Long-eared Owl is migratory in Northern India, but not throughout its range; it is found in woods and feeds on mice, insects, and small birds. It breeds usually in the deserted nest of another bird, often a Buzzard's or Crow's, and lays about 4 white eggs in March or April.