1182. Athene bactriana.
Athene bactriana, Blyth, J. A. S. B. xvi, p. 776 (1847); Scully, S. F. iv, p. 130. Athene persica, apud Hume, Rough Notes, p. 407 (nec Vieill.). Athene plumipes, R. Swinhoe, P. Z. S. 1870, p. 448. Carine plumipes, Sharpe (subsp.), Cat. B. M. ii, p. 137. Carine bactriana, Hume, S. F. v, p. 350 ; vii, p. 363 ; id. Cat. no 76 ter; Barnes, S. F. ix, pp. 215,452; C.Swinhoe, Ibis, 1882, p. 100; Sharpe, Yark. Miss., Aves, p. 14, pl. iii.
Coloration. Facial disk mostly white, except the black tips to the loral bristles and the ear-coverts, which are pale brown, streaked longitudinally darker; supercilia pure white; upper parts, wings, and tail dark rufous brown spotted with white, the spots small and elongate on the crown, round and large elsewhere, an imperfect concealed white collar on the hind-neck; wings and tail with broad white bands generally interrupted, sometimes for a considerable distance, at the shafts; lower parts white, a pale brown band with darker spots across the throat, and light brown longitudinal streaks on the breast and upper abdomen.
Bill greenish yellow; cere pale greenish white; iris pure sulphur-yellow; feet greenish, claws bluish horny black (Stoliczka). Feet feathered above to ends of toes.
Length 9; tail 3.5; wing 6.25; tarsus 1.1; bill from gape .85.
Distribution. This form is not more than a local race of A. glaux, which again is merely the Eastern desert form of the South European A. noctua. One or the other of these is found throughout the warmer temperate portions of the Palaearctic region; the race A. bactriana, distinguished solely by its well-plumed toes, occurring in China, Mongolia, Yarkand, and Afghanistan. It is common at Kandahar and has been obtained at Quetta, also in some of the valleys near Peshawar. Two specimens in the British Museum are labelled Tibet.
Habits, &c. Very similar to those of A. brama, but the present form is generally found on rocks, not on trees, and is especially partial to deserted houses and ruins, particularly to the buildings of sun-dried bricks so common throughout Central Asia.