Carine brama, Tem.
76. :- Athene brama, Tem. :- Jerdon's Birds of India, Vol. I, p. 142; Butler, Guzerat; Stray Feathers, Vol. III, p. 450; Deccan, Stray Feathers, Vol. IX, p. 377; Murray's Vertebrate Zoology of Sind, p. 99; Swinhoe and Barnes, Central India; Ibis, 1885, p. 59; Hume's Scrap Book, p. 404.
THE SPOTTED OWLET.
Length, 8 to 9.5 ; expanse, 20.05 to 22.5 ; wing, 615 to 6.65; tail, 2.75 to 3.5; tarsus, 1 to 1.1; bill from gape, 0.78 to 0.84.
Bill horny-green; cere dusky; irides bright or golden pale-yellow ; feet dingy-greenish.
Above earthy grey-brown, each feather with two white spots ; beneath white, broadly barred, or with cordate brown bars; tarsal feathers not spotted; wing with live or six white interrupted bars, and tail with five; disc white, edged externally with brown; a dusky-brown patch outside the eye, and a small dark spot at the inner canthus ; ear-coverts barred.
The Spotted Owlet is spread universally throughout India, and is exceedingly common in all parts of the Bombay Presidency, with the exception of the hills, which it does not ascend to any great height, its place there being taken by one of the next two species; it is . a permanent resident, and breeds during March and April. Eggs are occasionally found in February, but the majority of them are laid in March. It is not particular in its choice of a site for a nest; an old decayed tree will afford a lodging to several pairs; in fact, holes in trees are their most favorite to nesting places, and they may often be seen peeping out of holes in trees during the daytime, but holes in walls are not neglected.
If they can effect an entrance beneath the tiles of a bungalow, they do so, and there they will rear their families ; in such cases (by no means uncommon) they become an almost intolerable nuisance, as they are such noisy disagreeable birds; they are familiar and not easily driven away when once they have made a lodgment, the only sure method is extermination ; nothing less seems to have any effect; if one of a pair be shot the survivor obtains another mate in a very short time. I have found the eggs in holes in hay stacks, and very frequently in holes in the sides of wells. They do not make an elaborate nest, a few dead leaves and feathers quite sufficing for their requirements. The eggs, four or five in number, are frequently found in different stages of incubation, owing to the bird commencing to sit as soon as the first egg is laid. Another curious fact in connection with this bird is, that three or four adults are occasionally found sitting on one clutch of eggs.
The eggs are white in color, broad ovals in shape, and average 1.25 inches in Length, by about one inch in breadth.