1176. Scops balli.
The Andaman Scops Owl.
Ephialtes spilocephalus, apud Ball, J. A. S. B. xii, pt. 2, p. 276; id. S. F. i, p. 53; nec Blyth. Ephialtes balli, Hume, S. F. i, p. 407 (1873); ii, pp. 151, 491. Scops modestus, Walden, A. M. N. H. (4) xiii, p. 123 (1874); id. Ibis, 1874, p. 129; Hume, Cat. no. 74 quint. Scops balli, Sharpe, Cat. B. M. ii, p. 100 ; Hume, Cat. no. 74 oct.; Sharpe, Yark. Miss., Aves, p. 151, pi. xx ; Blanford, Ibis, 1894, p. 526.
Coloration. Face and lores fulvous brown to grey, barred with barker brown, loral plumes tipped black; forehead and supercilia pale, upper surface rufous brown, paler or darker, finely freckled and mottled with black, and dotted over with subcruciform or polygonal whitish or buff spots nearly surrounded by black; the larger white spots on the outer scapulars also bordered with black almost throughout, and sometimes crossed by brown or black lines; quills brown, speckled at the ends and on the outer webs, with conspicuous white spots on the outer webs of the primaries and fulvous notches on the inner webs of all near the base; tail brown with paler cross-bars, sometimes indistinct or broken; lower parts paler and greyer than the upper, speckled with dark brown or white, and spotted with whitish brown-tipped spots.
The young (S. modestus) are dull brown, closely but indistinctly barred, especially on the head, neck, and wing-coverts; the white or buff spots on the upper and lower surface are wanting, and the quills are barred throughout with pale rufous.
Colours of soft parts not recorded.
Length about 7.5; tail 3; wing 5.4; tarsus 1. Tarsus slender, lower third generally bare; fifth quill longest.
Distribution. The Andaman Islands. There can, I think, be no question but that S. modestus is merely the young, its small size (wing 4.75) being simply due to immaturity. As Hume has shown, other young specimens show a passage between S. modestus and S. balli. Some of them are more rufous than adults.