1153. Strix Candida.
Strix Candida, Tickell, J. A. S. B. ii, p. 572 (1833); Jerdon, IB. Ind. Orn. pl. 30; id. B. I. i, p. 118; Godw.-Aust. J. A. S. B. xxxix, pt. 2, p. 93; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. ii. p. 308; Blyth & Wold. Birds Burm. p. 68; Fairbank, S. F. iv, p. 253 ; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 27; Ball & Hume, S. F. vii, p. 200; Hume, Cat. no. 61; Reid, S. F. x, p. 14; Davison, ibid. p. 341; Terry, ibid. p. 469; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 168; id. in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 95 ; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 18. Strix longimembris, Jerdon, Madr. Jour. L. S. x, p. 86 (1839). Glaux javanica, Blyth, Cat. p. 42 (1849); nec Strix javanica, Gmel. Glaux Candida, Blyth, J. A. S. B. xix, p. 513; Hume, N. & E. p. 60. Scelostrix Candida, Kaup, Tr. Z. S. iv, p. 248; Blyth, Ibis, 1866, p. 251; 1870, p. 160; Hume, Rough Notes, p. 345; A. Anderson, S. F. iii, p. 388.
Coloration. Disk either white or suffused with pale pinkish ferruginous, a blackish-brown spot in front of each eye; ruff dark brown above, white or buff at the sides of the head and below, some of the feathers often tipped with brown; upper plumage dark brown, each feather with a minute white spot; basal portion of feathers orange-buff,—this colour is conspicuous in places, especially on the neck ; smallest wing-coverts orange-buff, with small brown spots; quills buff, tipped with brown, mottled above the tip and with some imperfect dark bars farther up, inner webs mostly white; tail-feathers white, the middle pair generally and the outer webs of the others often buff above, all, except sometimes the outermost, with brown cross-bars; lower parts from chin white or buff, with several scattered brown spots that are seldom or never entirely wanting.
The buff lower parts and the pink disk may be signs of youth (they are not so in S. flammea); they are certainly not sexual.
Bill and cere pinky white; irides deep brown; legs and feet blackish brown; claws horny, tinged bluish (Davison).
Length about 14; tail 5; wing 13; tarsus 3.2-3.8; bill from gape 1.6.
Distribution. The grassy plains near the base of the Himalayas as far west as Dehra Dun, also parts of Bengal, the Eastern Central Provinces (Balaghat, Raipur), and Southern India (Nellore, Carnatic, Nilgiris), but not Ceylon. Fairbank thought he saw this Owl in the Bombay Deccan, but I agree with Butler that probably some other species may have been taken for it. To the eastward it has been found in Assam, the Khasi hills, Manipur, and at Toungngoo in Burma, and as far as Formosa in one direction, and Queensland in another, but it appears to be rare as a rule and very locally distributed.
Habits, &c. This species has generally been found in long grass, but Davison says that on the Nilgiris he has flushed it from grass scarcely a foot high. Very little is known of its habits. The nest, a very slight one, if any, is made on the ground; the eggs, 4 or 5 in number, are white, and measure about 1.63 by 1.27. They have been taken from October to December.