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Page:Ornithological biography, or an account of the habits of the birds of the United States of America, volume 1.djvu/517

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489
LITTLE SCREECH OWL.

Bill very short, compressed, curved, acute, with a small cere at the base; upper mandible with its dorsal outline curved from the base, the edges acute, the point trigonal, very acute, deflected; lower mandible with the edges acute and inflected, obtuse at the tip. Nostrils roundish, in the fore part of the cere, concealed by the recumbent bristles. Head disproportionally large, as are the eyes and external ears. Body short. Legs of ordinary length, tarsus feathered; toes scutellate and sparsely covered with bristles, papillar and tubercular beneath; claws curved, slender, rounded, extremely sharp.

Plumage very soft and downy, somewhat distinct on the head and back, tufty and loose beneath. Long bristly feathers at the base of the bill, stretching forwards and outwards; auricular feathers forming a ruff. Two tufts of erectile feathers on the head, one over each eye. Wings ample, the fourth quill longest, the first short. Tail short, even, of twelve broad, rounded feathers.

Bill yellowish-green. Iris gold-yellow. Feet greenish-yellow. The general colour of the upper parts pale brown, spotted and sprinkled with brownish-black. A pale grey line from the base of the upper mandible over each eye. Primaries light brownish-grey, barred with brownish-black. Primary coverts dark brown, secondary coverts white at the tip. Throat yellowish-grey, under parts light grey, patched and sprinkled with brownish-black. Tarsal feathers tinged with red.

Length 10 inches, extent of wings 22.


Young birds fully pledged. Plate XCVII. Fig. 2, 3.

Bill and feet pale greenish-yellow. Iris light yellow. The general colour of the upper parts is light brownish-red, each feather with a blackish-brown line in the centre, the tail and quills barred with dull brown. A reddish-white line over each eye, the tips of the secondary coverts of the same colour. Breast and sides light yellowish grey, spotted and lined with brownish-black and bright reddish-brown, the rest of the under parts very uniform yellowish-grey, the tarsal feathers pale yellowish-red.