No. 75 BIS. Ephialtes Plumipes.* (SPEC. NOV.)
THE PLUME-FOOT SCOPS OWL.
Four eggs of this species, together with the female birds, were sent me from Kotegurh, where the latter had been captured on the eggs, in a hole in a tree. The eggs were taken on the 13th of May, and were partly incubated. They are intermediate in size between those of Athene Brama and Athene Cuculoides, but they are more spherical than either. They are of course pure white and slightly glossy. They do not appear to be quite as large as some of those of E. Griseus that I possess.
In size, they vary from 1.25 to 1.28 in Length, and from 1.1 to 1.5 in breadth.
I have only seen four specimens of this species, one from near Murree, two from Kotegurh, and one from Gurhwal. I do not think, notwithstanding the marked and unmistakable difference in their feet, (which in this species are feathered quite to the base of, and in some half way down, the terminal joints of the toes) that any one has hitherto discriminated this present species from Lettia, but now that the distinction has been pointed out, I hope that some of my co-adjutors will watch for it, and furnish further information about its habits and distribution.
* E. PLUMIPES.
Length, 9.5 to 10. Expanse, 20. Wing, 6.7 to 7.3. The 4th Primary the longest; the 1st, 1.7 shorter; 2d, 0.8; and the 3rd, 0.2 shorter. Length of tail, 3 ; exterior tail feathers, 0.2 to 0.4 shorter than the interior feathers. Tarsus, 1.6 to 1.7. Mid toe to root of claw (feathered to base or middle of terminal joint) 1; its claw straight, 0.55 : hind toe, 0.5; its claw, 0.5: inner toe, 0.8 ; its claw, 0.57. Bill straight, from edge of cere, 0.6 ; from gape, 0.92; width at gape, 0.92; height at front at margin of cere, 0.33 ; length of cere, 0.38 ; lower tail coverts fall short of end of tail, by 1.1 to 1.8.
DESCRIPTION. The full description given of E. Lettia, renders it unnecessary to describe this species at length. The toes fully feathered to the base of, or even half way down the terminal joint, alone suffice to separate it from all our other Indian Scops Owls, but I may remark that the general tint of colouring is darker, and as a rule less rufous or buffy, and the dark blotches on the head, back, ruff feathers, breast and abdomen, are larger and more conspicuous. The feathers of the throat and front of the ruff are also much more barred. I have never myself seen this bird alive, and therefore cannot give the colours of the irides and other parts which change in the dry specimens, nor can I, not having recorded them myself, vouch for the accuracy of those dimensions which cannot be checked from the dry skins, but I have no reason to doubt the correctness of those above recorded.