Syrnium occellatum, Less.
65. :- S. sinense, Lath. :- Jerdon's Birds of India, Vol. I, p. 123 ; Butler, Guzerat; Stray Feathers, Vol. V, p. 208 ; Deccan, Stray Feathers, Vol. IX, p. 376; Hume's Scrap Book, p. 353.
THE MOTTLED WOOD OWL.
Length, 17.9 to 19.2 ; expanse, 45 to 50.5 ; wing, 13 to 15; tail, 7 to 8.5 ; tarsus, 2 to 2.4; bill from gape, 1.6 to 1.7.
Bill black, paler, and greyish on lower mandible; eyelids orange; irides brown, deep in some, lighter in others; claws sharp, slightly curved, middle claw dilated on inner edge.
General plumage: above, rich tawny-yellow, the feathers of the head and nape spotted with black and white, each plume having a blackish tip, and crossed by an interrupted white band; feathers of the back, scapulars, wing-coverts, and upper tail-coverts beautifully mottled and speckled -with dusky and white ; quills tawny at their base, dusky at the tip, with pale mottled bands ; inner webs tawny, with brown bands; tail much the same, the mottled bars on both webs of the centre tail-feathers, but on the outer web and tip only of the others; disc mottled white, brown, and fulvous ; the ruff dark-brown, beneath the chin whitish; the rest of the body beautifully banded white and brown, each feather being white, with numerous narrow bars of brown ; tarsal feathers the same ; the toes clad nearly to the end. Some specimens are much tinted with fulvous beneath.
The Mottled Wood Owl is not uncommon in the Deccan, and it has been obtained in Guzerat. I procured it at Neemuch in Central India, but it has not, as yet, been recorded from Sind.
It is a permanent resident where found, and breeds during the month of March ; the eggs, two in number, are deposited in a cavity in a tree, or in the depression at the fork of two large branches. There is no nest to spe;ik of, except, perhaps, a few dead leaves that appear to have fallen there by accident; the eggs are rather roundish ovals, white in color, occasionally with a faint tinge of cream; they measure 2 inches in length by
about 17 in breadth.