1663. Huhua nipalensis

(1663) Huhua nipalensis Hodgs.
THE FOREST EAGLE-OWL.
Huhua nipalensis Fauna, B. I., Birds, 2nd ed, vol. iv, p. 418.
This, the finest of all our Indian Owls, is found in the Himalayas from Kuman to Assam and thence through the hill regions of North and Central Burma. It also occurs and is common in Travancore and ranges from the Nilgiris and Malabar to Ceylon,
This Eagle-Owl is essentially a forest-bird but nearly always keeps to the sides of streams, sometimes of considerable size and forming wide open spaces. I have seen it in North Cachar in very deep humid forest from the foot-hills up to some 4,000 feet, but it is most common between 1,000 and 3,000 feet. In Travancore Stewart found it breeding in some numbers from 500 or 600 up to 3,000 feet.
It always, so far as has been ascertained, breeds in fairly dense cover, though for hunting purposes it may come out more into the open.
Nests found by myself in the Assam hills have always been either in deserted Eagles’ nests or in the hollow formed by the first great boughs where they divide from the trunk of big trees, and never more than 12 or 15 feet from the ground. There is no nest, though these hollows always contain a certain amount of wind-swept rubbish, in addition to which the pellets and remains of animal-food collect, forming after a few years a great mass of evil- smelling remnants. When in Eagles’ nests the birds seem to do no repairs, just accepting the nests as they are and however dilapidated.
In Travancore Stewart found nests in several positions, such as in caves or on ledges of cliffs or rocks or in holes in large trees or stumps, in most cases near, or actually on the banks of, rivers and streams.
The breeding season is generally from December to February, but in Kuman Whymper found an egg on the 15th March, while I took one on the 20th June in North Cachar. This probably was a second egg laid after the first had been hatched and the young come to grief. The egg was very hard-set and must have been laid in May.
Neither Stewart, Whymper nor I have ever found more than one egg or young bird.
The eggs are quite typical Owls’ eggs, and ten of them average 61.2 x 49.9 ram. : maxima 65.0 x 52.4 mm. ; minima 57.0 x 48.5 mm.
The birds are extraordinarily savage and fight desperately for young or eggs. Even the male will join in the fight, and I have seen him attack fiercely on one occasion when his nest was being rifled after his wife had been shot.
I believe the female only incubates, but the male sits close to her, uttering his deep guttural mumble from time to time.

BookTitle: 
The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Reference: 
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 3. 1934.
Title in Book: 
1663. Huhua nipalensis
Spp Author: 
Hodgs.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
1663
Year: 
1934
Page No: 
514
Common name: 
Forest Eagle Owl
M_ID: 
6582
M_CN: 
Spot-bellied Eagle-Owl
M_SN: 
Bubo nipalensis
Volume: 
Vol. 3
Term name: 
id: 
14830

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