688. LONG-EARED OWL.
Asio otus (Linn.), Syst. Nat. i. p. 132 (1766) ; (Naum.) i. p. 451, Taf. 45, fig. 1 ; Newton, i. p. 158 ; Dresser, v. p. 251, pl. 303 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. Br. Mus. i. p. 227 ; Blanf. F. Brit. Ind. Birds, iii. p. 271 ; Saunders, p. 293 ; Lilford, i. p. 91, pl. 44 ; Otus vulgaris, Fleming, Brit. Anim. p. 56 (1828) ; Gould, B. of E. pl 39 ; id. B. of Gt. Brit. i. pl. 31 ; Hewitson, i. p. 55, pl. xvii. fig. 3, Tacz. F. O. Sib. O. p. 155.
Hibou vulgaire, French ; Mocho, Portug, ; Buho, Span. ; Gufo comune, Ital. ; Waldohreule, German ; Ransuil, Dutch ; Skovhornugle, Dan. ; Hornugle, Norw. ; Hornuggla, Skogsuf, Swed. ; Sarvipollo, Finn. ; Uschastaja-Sova, Russ. ; Baf, Arab. ; Tora-fu-dzuku, Jap.
Male ad. (Scotland). Crown furnished with long, erectile tufts, brownish black, on the outer margins ochreous and on the inner greyish white ; upper parts buff, marked, streaked, and vermiculated with brown, blackish and greyish white ; tail warm ochreous, barred and slightly vermiculated with blackish brown ; facial disk warm buff, the feathers on the inner ide of the eye blackish, the ruff dull white tipped with black ; under parts warm buff, streaked and on the abdomen minutely barred with brownish black ; legs to the toes covered with pale ochreous feathers ; bill dark horn ; iris ochreous yellow ; claws dark horn. Culmen 1.1, wing 11.2, tail 5.9, tarsus 1.6 inch. The female is rather larger, darker, and usually more rufescent.
Hab. Europe generally, about as far north as 59° or 60° N, Lat. ; rarer in the Azores, Canaries, and North Africa ; Asia east to Japan, north to southern Siberia and south to Northern India.
Throughout the major portion of its range it is a resident, and frequents wooded districts and does not, like some of its allies, visit inhabited places and ruins. It is almost strictly nocturnal, hiding away in some sheltered place during the day, from which it emerges in the evening and hunts after its prey all the night. Its flight is soft and noiseless, and its call-note is a deep hoot. It feeds chiefly on mice but also on large insects and small birds. It nests in wooded localities usually taking possession of a deserted squirrel’s drey, or the nest of a Crow or Raptor, which it repairs carefully, and lines with feathers or some other soft material, and from March to May, according to latitude, deposits 3 to 4, sometimes as many as 6 pure white, smooth, but not glossy eggs which measure about 1.63 by 1.31.
In North America this owl is replaced by a very closely allied species, Otus americanus Stephens, which differs only in having the upper parts darker and more clouded and the under parts marked with but few longitudinal, and many transverse stripes.
688. Asio otus
688. LONG-EARED OWL.