1645. Strix nivicola

(1645) Strix nivicola Blyth.
THE HIMALAYAN WOOD-OWL.
Strix nivicola, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed, vol. iv, p. 398.
The Himalayan Wood-Owl occurs all along the Outer Himalayas from Murree to Eastern Assam and thence to the Shan States, Yunnan and China East to Pekin, I have never seen it in the hills South of the Brahmapootra in Assam.
The first person to take the eggs of this bird was Mr, A. A. Anderson, a clerk in the Secretariat at Simla, In 1913 Ollenbach at Mussoorie and Dodsworth near Simla obtained them and, finally, Jones took several nests round about the latter station.
Dodsworth says that they keep much to dense Oak-forest and his first nest was found in a fairly large cavern in a small cliff, its mouth screened by a mass of brushwood and creepers. This on the 13th May contained one young bird and an addled egg. After this Jones found several nests (Journ, Bomb. Nat. Hist. Soc, vol. xxvi, p. 615, 1919) ; he says :—“I have found several nests, all of which were in holes in trees from 10 feet to 35 feet from the ground. The eggs are two or three, perhaps more often the latter number ; these are laid from the middle of March to the second week in April. I have never found anything but rats in the nest-holes.”
Dodsworth says that these birds fight savagely for their eggs and young (Journ. Bomb. Nat. Hist. Soe, vol. xxii, p. 629, 1914). On one occasion “a man peeped into the cave, and before he had time to withdraw himself he found to his horror a large Owl clinging to his chest” ; on another occasion “the old bird appeared on the scene and made a most determined attack on him, knocking off his hat and drawing blood from his scalp and face.”
Jones thus describes its courtship in the article already referred to:—“Besides the usual hoot, S. nivicola has a note which could be produced by placing a blade of grass between the two thumbs and then blowing through them sharply. This, I think, is a love-call. When the bird utters this note it is usually on the wing, and soars up almost vertically for a few yards, and descends for some distance, with wings closed, gradually opening its wing, and finally sitting on the nearest point of vantage."
The breeding season is from the middle of January to the middle or end of April, two or three eggs being laid. These are quite typical, and thirteen average 48.2 x 41.6 mm. : maxima 48.9 x 41.0 and 48.4 x 42.0 mm. ; minima 45.8 x 41.1 and 48.2 x 39.9 mm.

BookTitle: 
The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Reference: 
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 3. 1934.
Title in Book: 
1645. Strix nivicola
Spp Author: 
Blyth.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
1645
Year: 
1934
Page No: 
501
Common name: 
Himalayan Wood Owl
M_ID: 
6648
M_CN: 
Himalayan Owl
M_SN: 
Strix nivicolum
Volume: 
Vol. 3
Term name: 
id: 
14812

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