Ninox lugubris, Tick,
81. (in part) :- Jerdon's Birds of India, Vol. I, p. 147 ; Butler, Deccan; Stray Feathers, Vol. IX, p. 377; Hume's Scrap Book, p. 420.
THE BROWN HAWK OWL.
Length, 11 to 12.1; expanse, 27 to 29; wing, 8.6 to 9.25 ; tail, 5.1 to 5.4; bill from gape, 0.9 to 1.
Bill blackish, pale horny-yellow on culmen; cere greenish-; irides bright yellow.
Legs and feet vary from yellow to reddish-yellow, and in young birds greenish-grey.
Lores, forehead, and chin white ; the elongated bristle-like shafts of some of the feathers blackish; ear-coverts brown, ashy at the base; top of the head, back and sides of the neck ashy-brown; throat and front of the neck slightly more rufous-brown, streaked with fulvous; in some specimens the fulvous greatly predominates, and these parts may then be said to be light fulvous, streaked with greyish-brown; back, scapulars, lesser, median, and greater secondary wing-coverts, tertiaries, and most of the secondaries, rump, and upper tail-coverts brown, varying much in shade in different individuals, some being a greyer and more dove-brown, others more rufous, but always more rufous on the coverts, and generally palest or clearest on the tertiaries; the exterior scapulars with larger or smaller pure white bars, sometimes on both and sometimes upon one web only, in some specimens conspicuous even when the bird is at rest, in others only visible by lifting the feathers; the tertiaries are barred on both webs with white ; the tail is pale grey, greyish-brown, or pale brown, white at the extreme tip, with five regular, transverse, brown bars, darker or lighter in different individuals, the basal one of which is more or less completely hidden by the upper tail-coverts, and which average about 0.4 inches in breadth; the primaries, their greater-coverts, and the winglet are generally somewhat darker-brown than the rest of the wing, but the former are paler on the outer webs; all the quills are banded paler, somewhat obsoletely towards the tips and on the outer webs, but very conspicuously on the inner webs above the tip; the breast, abdomen, sides, flanks, vent and lower tail-coverts are pure white the breast with broad, rufous-brown stripes, and the flanks and abdomen with large, more or less heart-shaped, spots of the same color towards the tips of the feathers; the lower tail-coverts sometimes spotless, and sometimes with traces of a few pale-brown arrow-head, transverse, bars; tarsal and tibial plumes mottled white, pale fulvous and brown, one or other of these colors, in some specimens the white, in others the fulvous or the brown, greatly predominating; axillaries white, or pale fulvous, more or less imperfectly but broadly barred with brown, or pale fulvous-brown; edge of the wing just above the base of the primaries white; wing-lining mingled white, brown, and pale fulvous.
The Brown Hawk Owl only occurs as an occasional straggler in some parts of the Deccan. It may perhaps be rather more common than is generally supposed, but owing to its very shy nature it must often escape notice.