|Scientific Name||Bubo bengalensis (Franklin, 1831)|
The season is from about November to April. No nest is made, the eggs being usually laid on the bare soil in natural recesses in earth banks, on ledges of cliffs overhanging water, or even on level ground under the shelter of some bush. The normal clutch consists of three or four eggs—white in colour with a faint creamy tinge. They are broad roundish ovals of a fine and flossy texture.
About that of the Pariah Kite.
A large dark brown owl, streaked and mottled with buff and black, with two conspicuous black aigrettes or ' horns ' above the head. Rather like the Fish-Owl in general effect, but with the legs fully covered with fulvous feathers. Sexes alike.
Mainly nocturnal. A fairly common species in the Indian plains, and in portions of Kashmir it is found up to about 6,000 feet elevation. It inhabits well-wooded, but open and cultivated country and avoids heavy forest. Its favourite haunts are low bush-covered rocky hills and ravines and the cliff banks of rivers and streams. Here it rests during the day on the ground under the shelter of a bush or on some rocky projection. Where these conditions are lacking—and especially in the neighbourhood of villages—it alffets groves of ancient thickly foliaged trees. It is by no means so completely nocturnal as the Fish Owl and may frequently be seen on the move till after the sun is well up, with little apparent discomfort. The birds emerge from their daytime retreats soon after sunset with their deep, solemn, resounding call bu-bn (2nd syllable much prolonged) which, while not really loud, has a curious penetrating quality. They may then be seen perched on the top of some boulder, whence they glide off effortlessly on outstretched wings over great distances to their accustomed feeding grounds. Besides these calls, they have a variety of growls and hisses expressive of excitement or emotion.
Their food consists of small mammals, birds, lizards and other reptiles—also large insects, and occasionally fish and crabs. Field rats and mice form a considerable proportion of their diet in agricultural areas'. The Horned Owls act as a constant check on these fecund and destructive rodents, and are therefore of great economic value.
Seen singly or pairs, in wooded rocky ravines and ancient groves.
Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1