Upper plumage dusky brown, edged with ochre-yellow: egrets small and inconspicuous, composed of three or four feathers.
Strix Brachyotos, Temm. Man. d'Orn. torn. I. p. 99. Short-eared Owl, Mont. Orn. Diet, and Supp. Selb. Illust. vol. I. p. 88. pi. 21. Bew. Brit. Birds, vol. I. pp.58 and 60.
Entire length fifteen inches: length of the bill (along the ridge) one inch three lines; of the tarsus one inch; of the tail six inches; of the egrets six lines; from the carpus to the end of the wing eleven inches eight lines: breadth, wings extended, three feet one inch.
Head small: facial circle dirty white, with dark streaks radiating outwards; immediate contour of the eyes black: egrets black, with tawny edges: head, neck, back, and wing-coverts, variegated with dusky brown and tawny yellow, the feathers being mostly edged with this last colour, with a dark spot in the centre of each: breast and belly pale orange-yellow, with brownish black streaks on the shafts of the feathers; these streaks most abundant on the breast: vent and under tail-coverts yellowish white: quills with alternate bars of dark brown and ochre-yellow: tail barred like the quills; the two outermost feathers much paler than the others; the four central ones with dusky spots in the middle of the yellow bars: feet and toes thickly coated with downy ochreous feathers: bill dusky: irides rich golden yellow: claws black. (Egg). Smooth: white, with "a slight blush of red: long. diam. one inch eight lines; trans, diam. one inch three lines and a half.
A migratory species, visiting England in October, and departing in April. Has been known, however, to breed in Norfolk, as well as in some parts of Scotland. Habits somewhat diurnal. Met with chiefly on moors and in open fields, often in flocks consisting of several individuals. Resorts to plantations in the evening to roost. Food principally the field-campagnol. Nest placed on the ground.