706. LITTLE OWL.
Athene noctua (Scop.), Ann. i. Hist. Nat. p. 22 (1772) ; (Naum.), i. p. 493, Taf. 48, fig. 1. ; (Newton), i. p. 178 ; Gould, B. of Gt. Brit. i. pl. 37 ; Dresser, v. p. 357, pl. 317 ; (Sharpe), Cat. B. Br. Mus. ii. p. 133 ; Saunders, p. 301 ; Lilford, i. p. 102, pl. 48 ; A. nudipes (Nils.) Orn, Suec. i. p. 68 (1817) ; (Gould), B. of E. i. pl. 48 ; (Hewit¬son), i. p. 67, pl. xix. fig. 3.
Chouette cheveche, French ; Mocho, Portug. ; Mochuelo, Span ; Civetta, Ital. ; Steinkauz, German ; Minervas Ug’e, Dan, ; Steenuil, Dutch ; Sytsch-domovoi, Russ. ; Mouka, Moorish.
Male ad. (Germany). Upper parts brown, the head striped, the other parts mottled and spotted with white, the head tinged with fulvous ; quills barred and spotted with white ; tail barred with fulvous white ; no facial disk ; forehead, eyebrow, malar region and throat white ; sides of neck and lower throat brown, mottled with white ; under parts white, below the breast streaked and mottled with brown ; lower abdomen, thighs, and under tail-coverts fulvous white ; bill greenish yellow ; feet greyish yellow, sparsely covered with hairy bristles ; iris yellow. Culmen 0.65, wing 6.0, tail 2.9, tarsus 1.1 inch. Female similar but larger. Young tinged with rufous.
Hab. Continental Europe, south to the Mediterranean ; a rare straggler to England and Sweden ; Morocco.
Frequents gardens, orchards, and old buildings, and also is found in villages, farmyards, etc., where not molested. It is partly diurnal in its habits, though chiefly nocturnal. Its note is a monotonous cu, cu-cu or kuwitti, kuitti, in the spring con¬siderably modulated, and it is said to utter a mowing call. It feeds on small birds, mice, large insects, etc.. and is generally looked on as a useful bird. It makes no regular nest, but places its eggs in a hole in an old wall or a rock, or in buildings, in a hollow tree, or in a hole in the ground. The eggs, 3 to 5 in number, are usually deposited in May, and are roundish in shape, and in size average 1.35 by 1.12.
706. Athene noctua
706. LITTLE OWL.