Tarsi feathered; toes thinly covered with a few white hairs.
Strix passerina, Temm. Man. d'Orn. torn. 1. p. 92. Little Owl, Mont. Orn. Diet. Little Night-Owl, Selb. Illust. vol. 1. p. 107. pi. 27.
Entire length nine inches. Temm.
Facial circle mostly white: upper plumage grayish brown; head and nape rather thickly spotted with white; wing-coverts and scapulars with large irregular white spots of an oval-oblong form; middle of the back nearly free from spots; sides of the nape much variegated with white; quills with a regular series of yellowish white spots on their outer webs; tail with alternate bars of brown and yellowish white: under parts white, with oblong longitudinal spots of grayish brown; chin and under tail-coverts free from spots: tarsi clothed with short downy white feathers; longer (according to Selby) than in the next species; toes thinly covered with a few white hairs. (Egg). Of a short oval form: white: long. diam. one inch four lines; trans, diam. one inch one line.
A very rare and occasional visitant in this country. Has been killed in a few instances, but from having been formerly confounded with the next species, such instances can hardly be particularized with certainty. Said to frequent towers and old buildings, in which situations it breeds, laying from two to four eggs. Food, according to Temminck, mice, bats, small birds, and insects.