1175. Scops spilocephalus.
The Spotted Himalayan Scops Owl.
Ephialtes spilocephalus, Blyth, J. A. S. B. xv, p. 8 (1846). Ephialtes scops (L.), apud Button, J. A. S. B. xvii, pt. 2, p. 4. Phodilus nipalensis, G. R. Gray, Hand-list, i, p. 53 (descr. nulla), teste Sharpe. Ephialtes gymnopodus, apud Hume, Rough Notes, p. 390; Jerdon, His, 1871, p. 347; Cock & Marsh. S. F. i, p. 349; nec Gray. Scops spilocephalus, Hume, N. & E. p. 66; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. ii, p. 63; Hume, S. F. vii, p. 352; id. Cat. no. 74 ter; C. H. T. Marshall, Ibis, 1884, p. 408; Salvadori, Ann. Mus. Civ. Gen. (2) iv, p. 673; vii, p. 376; Oates in Hume's & N. E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 104.
Coloration. Pace whity brown, indistinctly barred; lores whitish, with black tips ; ruff buff, with broad tips of dark brown ; broad frontal area extending above the eyes lighter than the crown; upper parts speckled greyish to rufous brown, and marked, especially on the crown and nape, with pale spots, each with a dark brown or black spot behind it; there are the usual white spots, bordered with blackish inside and at the ends, on the outer webs of the outer scapulars, and a few white spots on the wing-coverts; quills and tail-feathers brown -with pale bands as in S. giu, but the pale bands across the tail are generally much more numerous, and the white spots on both webs of the primaries are dull and inconspicuous; lower parts speckled brown on white, and with indistinct pale brown-tipped spots on the breast and abdomen.
Both a greyish and a rufous phase are found, but the colour is never chestnut as in the sunia variety of S. giu.
Bill yellowish; iris yellow; feet fleshy brown. Tarsus not feathered quite to the distal extremity; toes bare; 4th or 5th quill longest.
Length of males about 7.5 ; tail 3; wing 5.5; tarsus 1.15; bill from gape .7. Females are a little larger: wing 5.7; tail 3.25.
Distribution. Throughout the Himalayas as far west as Murree, at elevations between about 3000 and 6000 feet. There is in the British Museum a skin collected by God win-Austen at Asalu, Naga hills; and Pea obtained specimens identified by Salvadori as this species at Bhamo and in Karennee.
Habits, &c. According to Hutton, this Scops utters a double whistle—who-who. It lays 3 to 5 round oval white eggs on the bare wood in a hollow tree, or in a hole in the wood; the eggs measure about 1.26 by 1.09. The breeding-season is from the middle of March to the middle of June.