AUDUBON, John James (1785 - 1851). Plate 29, Passerine Day – Owl

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Hand-colored lithograph by Ralph Trembly for the firm of J.T. Bowen after John James Audubon (1785 - 1851)

From Vol. 1 of the first octavo edition of the The Birds of America, From Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories. New York: J. J. Audubon; Philadelphia: J. B. Chevalier, 1839 - 1840.

Paper dimensions: approximately 10 x 6 ½ inches

Octavo part number: 6

Corresponding Havell edition plate number: 432.3, Little night Owl, Colombian Owl, Short-eared Owl, Burrowing Owl, Large-headed Burrowing Owl

Audubon described the Passerine Day – Owl as follows:

"The specimen from which my drawing of this bird was taken, was procured near Pictou in Nova Scotia, by my young friend THOMAS M'CULLOCH, Esq., who assured me that it is not very uncommon there. How far southward it may proceed in winter I have not been able to ascertain; nor have I ever met with it in any part of the United States. It is also said to be abundant in Newfoundland, and not rare in Labrador. My specimen is a female, and was shot in winter. 

STRIX PASSERINA, Linn. Syst. Nat., vol. i. p. 133. 
CHOUETTE CHEVECHE, Strix passerina, Temm. Man. d'Orn., p. 92.
LITTLE NIGHT OWL, Strix passerina, Aud., vol. v. p. 269. 


Tail rather short, arched, nearly even; wings almost as long as the tail, the outer four quills cut out on the inner web, the outer five sinuated on the outer; filaments of the first free and slightly recurved, as are those of the second and third beyond the sinus. General colour of upper parts chocolate-brown, the feather of the head with an oblong median white mark; hind neck with very large white spots, forming a conspicuous patch; on the back most of the feathers with a single large subterminal roundish spot, as is the case with the scapulars and wing-coverts, most of which, however, have two or more spots; quills with marginal reddish-white spots on both webs, the third with six on the outer and four on the inner, with two very faint pale bars toward the end; the tall similarly marked with four bands of transversely oblong, reddish-white spots; feathers of the anterior part of the disk whitish, with black shafts, of the lower part whitish, of the hind part brown, tipped with greyish-white; a broad band of white crossing the throat, and curving upwards on either side to the ear; a patch of white on the lower part of the fore-neck; between these a brownish-grey band. Lower parts dull yellowish-white, each feather with a broad longitudinal band of chocolate-brown; abdomen and lower tail-coverts unspotted; tarsal feathers dull white. 

Female, 10 1/2; wing from flexure 6 1/4; tail 3 1/2."

From: AUDUBON, John James: The Birds of America, From Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories; New York and Philadelphia: J. J. Audubon and J. B. Chevalier, 1840 - 1844.