Scops brucei, Hume.
74. Sept. :- Butler, Deccan and South Mahratta Country ; Stray Feathers, Vol. IX, p. 376; Murray's Vertebrate Zoology of Sind, p. 95.
THE STRIATED SCOPS OWL.
Length, 9; expanse, 22; wing 6.4; tail, 3.25 ; tarsus, 1.45 ; bill from gape, 0.73.
Bill dusky; irides bright yellow; legs and feet densely feathered ; claws black, well curved, slender and very sharp.
Cheeks and feathers under the eye greyish-white, excessively finely and indistinctly barred with brown; the lores and a stripe running up from them to the top of the eye creamy white; the longer ones that meet over the base of the upper mandible tinged brownish; a few tiny dark-brown feathers on the eyelids; chin and throat creamy-white, with very narrow: central shaft stripes towards the tips, and excessively finely vermicellated with brown; feathers of the ruff, (which is inconspicuous), very pale buff, narrowly edged with dark-brown ; the whole of the forehead, crown, back of head, back and sides of neck, back, scapulars, wing-coverts, rump and upper tail-coverts, very pale buff or creamy-white, so minutely and closely powdered with pale-brown that looked at from a very little distance the feathers appear to be a uniform pale earthy-brown.
Every feather has a narrow central dark-brown stripe ; some of the outer scapulars have inconspicuous patches of buff on their outer webs, and the ground color of the feather on each side of the crown, immediately above the eye, is slightly paler; but, beyond this, the whole of the upper plumage above described is singularly uniform in tint and appearance, and is absolutely devoid of those white spots and blackish-brown or buff dashes and streaks so characteristic of the other Indian species; the primaries are pale dingy-buff, with broad transverse brown bars, which, towards the tips, are with the ground color, mottled and freckled over, the ground color with brown and the bars with dingy-fulvous ; nearer the base of the feather, the light bars are on the exterior webs pure pale buff, while the dark bars continue freckled as already described ; on the inner webs, the dark bars are nearly uniform and unmottled, while the light bars are pure and unmottled towards the edge of the webs, and suffused with brown towards the shafts ; the tertiaries and the tips of the secondaries approximate closely to the plumage of the back and coverts ; of the breast and abdomen, the ground color is similar to that of the upper parts, but the brown powdering is coarser, so that more of the ground coloring is seen, and the dark-brown central shaft stripes are somewhat broader towards the vent; on the flanks and lower tail-coverts, the ground color becomes almost pure white, and the brown powdering very sparse, while the shafts stripes are reduced; as on the back and wing-coverts, to well marked dark lines ; the short, dense tibial and tarsal plumes are brownish-white, each little feather with its dark central shaft stripe; the axillaries and wing-lining are cream colored, or yellowish-white, entirely unstreaked and unmottled.
Not much is known concerning the Striated Scops Owl. It was named by Mr. Hume, after the Revd. H. Bruce, that gentleman having procured the first specimen near Ahmednagar; others have since been procured in different parts of the Deccan. Messrs. Blandford, Doig and myself procured it in Sind, the former at Oomercote, Mr. Doig and myself at Hyderabad, where it frequents dense plantations of young babool trees. I found it nesting on the Khoja Amran mountains in South Afghanistan. It will doubtless turn up both in Rajpootana and Guzerat.