1649. Strix ocellata

(1649) Strix ocellata (Less.).
THE MOTTLED WOOD-OWL.
Strix ocellata. Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. iv, p, 402.
This Wood-Owl is found over practically the whole of India from the base of the Himalayas to the Carnatic and to the base of the Nilgiris. It extends East to Lower Bengal but not to Assam, while in the West it does not occur in Sind. It is also absent from the driest and most desert countries without woods and forests.
Its favourite breeding haunts are undoubtedly Mango-orchards, but it has been found nesting—if I may use the term for a bird which makes no nest—in solitary trees in cultivation, in gardens, in roadside avenues, while in Raipur (Central Provinces) Blewitt says that an occasional pair is to be met with in open forest and describee two eggs taken from a tree in such forest.
This Owl deposits its eggs either in hollows in trees or in the hollows formed by the divergence of the greater limbs of trees where they start from the main trunk. The birds make no nest though, naturally, in the uncovered hollows between the houghs many wind-blown oddments may accumulate and form what looks like a kind of nest. They build at almost any height from the ground, but most often between 6 and 20 feet, although Hume gives 25 feet as the limit.
The breeding season is thus summed up by Hume:—“The Mottled Wood-Owl lays in the plains of the North-Western Provinces and the Punjab in February and March, but I have a note of the eggs having been taken in the Doon early in April. In the Central Provinces it lays from November to January.”
In Khandesh and the South Konkan Davidson and Vidal took eggs in December, January and February, while in Bihar Coltart, Inglis and others found them breeding in February and March. In Poona it breeds rather later and Betham took a single fresh egg on the 10th April.
Occasionally this Owl lays three eggs, but the normal full clutch is two.
Hume says the eggs are creamy white. I have never seen any with a cream tint, but they are, like all Owls’ eggs, a duller white than such eggs as those of Bee-eaters, Kingfishers etc.
Eighteen eggs average 51.1 x 42.0 mm. : maxima 54.3 x 42.1 and 53.2 x 44.2 mm. ; minima 48.2 x 41.0 mm.
The old birds sit very close, and Cock writes of one he found sitting on its nest in a Mango-tree near Sitapur which refused to leave even when he threw a stone at it.

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: 
1649. Strix ocellata
Spp Author: 
Less.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
1649
Year: 
1934
Page No: 
504
Common name: 
Mottled Wood Owi
M_ID: 
6620
M_CN: 
Mottled Wood Owl
M_SN: 
Strix ocellata
Volume: 
Vol. 3
Term name: 
id: 
14816

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