Scientific Name: Athene brama
Tamil Name :Pulli Anthai
Description: It is a grayish brown with white spots on upper parts of the body. Lower parts puffed brown. Head is large and round. Eyes are yellow in colour.
Distribution and status : This bird is distributed throughout the Indian Subcontinent. It is nocturnal and commonest of our owls.
Habitat:. It inhabits all types of country excepting heavy forests. It is also found near human habitation. Pairs spend their time in a hollow or a secluded spot and emerge in the evening to hunt.
Habits :. It assembles in groups or singly in villages, towns, in building ruins and groves of ancient trees and in wooded countryside. They are also sometimes seen during the day. Head bobbing is observed to a human intruder before they fly clumsily to nearby perch during the day. A characteristic call is also made during this period. They are chased by crows when their presence is sighted.
Food: Chiefly beetles and other insects and also young lizards or birds or mice.
Life Cycle : It breeds from November to April. 3 to 4 eggs white in color are laid in untidy pad of fibers in tree hollows, holes in crumbling walls, or between ceiling and roof of occupied or abandoned houses.
Role in the environment: As they are predators of mice they help in keeping a check in the rodent population.
Photo source :Dr.J. Patrik David