Bubo bengalensis; Frankl.
69. :- Urrua bengalensis, Franklin. :- Jerdon's Birds of India, Vol. I, p. 128; Butler, Guzerat; Stray Feathers, Vol. III, p. 450; Deccan, Stray Feathers, Vol. IX, p. 376 ; Murray's Vertebrate Zoology of Sind, p. 93; Swinhoe and Barnes, Central India ; Ibis, 1885, p. 58 ; Hume's Scrap Book, p. 366.
THE ROCK-HORNED OWL.
Length, 20 to 23 ; expanse, 44 to 58.; wing, 14 to 16 ; tail 8.25 to 9 ; tarsus, 2.4 to 3.25; bill from gape, 1.5 to 1.75.
Bill horny black; irides intense orange-yellow; legs and feet feathered.
Above: the feathers of the head and neck are tawny, fading into white, each with a broad stripe of rich dark-brown; forehead brown-black, with a few tawny and white spots; aigrettes rich black-brown, edged on the inner sides with fulvous; back, shoulders, and greater coverts are varying shades of dark-brown, with pairs of mottled or freckled spots or incomplete bars of white, buff, or whity-buff; the tertiaries are similar, but have a lighter or more rufous ground-color; the primaries are a rich rufous-buff, tipped dusky-brown, gradually diminishing in extent inwards ; the outer webs of the first two are banded brown and rufous-buff, freckled with brown, but in the succeeding ones the rufous-buff above the tips is nearly pure, except for two or three narrow, irregular spots, or incomplete bars ; the dusky tips are themselves a" good deal freckled and banded, more especially towards the secondaries, which latter want the dusky tips, and have four or five brown bars on the outer, and three or four much narrower ones on the inner webs, the buff between the bars being freckled with brown and dashed with white; the inner webs are clear salmon color, inclining to white on the outer edges; the wing-lining is pale buff, mottled with white, the lesser lower-coverts being banded with faint, wavy, zigzag, brown lines or bars; the two centre tail-feathers resemble the outer webs of the secondaries, and the lateral ones their inner webs ; the lores and sides of the upper mandibles are occupied with dense tufts of white bristly feathers, having the webs much disunited, with the extreme tips black and prolonged, and a broad band of similar feathers, tinged with pale buffy-brown, bounded posteriorly by a narrow dark brown band, from the base of the aigrettes, behind and below the eye; the under parts are rufous-buff (whitish on the throat and neck), the breast with conspicuous dark-brown stripes, and the abdomen, sides and lower tail-coverts with numerous narrow, transverse, wavy, rufous-brown bars, darkest and closest on the sides, and almost wanting on the vent'; the thigh-coverts, tarsi, and toe-feathers are buffy or sullied white, unspotted.
The Rock-horned Owl is fairly common in all parts of the presidency.
It frequents, by preference, rocky hills, ravines, and river banks, -particularly if the latter are partially covered with brushwood. As noticed by Jerdon, it may frequently be seen in the early morning, seated on the ledge of a rock, looming large against the sky. It breeds during February, March and April, but eggs are occasionally found both earlier and later. The eggs, three or four in number, are deposited on the bare ground, either in a small cave or on a projecting edge of a cliff generally near water., A favorite breeding place is the preci¬pitate bank of a river facing westward, where the sun seldom or never, penetrates ; the eggs, though rarely, have been found oh the level ground. They are broad oval in shape, and white in color, with a faint creamy tinge, fairly glossy, and average 2-l inches in length by 178 in breadth.