African Barred Owlet (Glaucidium capense)

African Barred Owlet

[order] STRIGIFORMES | [family] Strigidae | [latin] Glaucidium capense | [authority] Smith, 1834 | [UK] African Barred Owlet | [FR] Chevechette du Cap | [DE] Kapkauz | [ES] Mochuelo de El Cabo | [NL] Kaapse Dwerguil


Monotypic species


Members of the genus Glaucidium are very small and tiny owls. They have rounded heads without ear-tufts. Their eyes are yellow. In many species the talons are, in relation to their size, very powerful. The facial disc is not very distinct. Some species have a large dark patch with a pale border on each side of the nape of the neck, looking like false eyes. Many are partly diurnal and sing from exposed perches. These are mostly very tenacious in the hunt, and show little fear, even of approaching humans. Glaucidium is a worldwide genus, containing some 30 species. Most of the Asian species, and some of the African species show physical and behavioural differences that suggest they might be better placed in Athene, and DNA evidence suggests that there is only a distant relationship between the Old World Pygmy Owls and those of the New World.

Physical charateristics

The African Barred Owlet is a smallish bird but somewhat larger than a house sparrow. The male and female African Barred Owlet have the same plumage and colors. The head is grey-brown and spotted. The iris is yellow,bill is greyish-green. Facial disk is white and finely barred. Upperparts brown with paler bars. Lower breast and belly whithish seemingly spotted from brown featehr tips. Flight feathers and tail brown with broad rufous band, upper breast cinnamon.

Listen to the sound of African Barred Owlet

[audio: Barred Owlet.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 20 cm size max.: 22 cm
incubation min.: 28 days incubation max.: 34 days
fledging min.: 32 days fledging max.: 33 days
broods: 0   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 4  


Africa : Southeast, Southcentral,west. It is found in Angola, Botswana, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Somalia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe


Most frequently found in woodland and forests, and on forest edges. It may also occur in more open savannah and along rivers. Prefers woodlands, with sparse undergrowth, usually with a river or stream nearby.


It uses natural hollows in trees as nests, about 6 m above ground. Nest is lined with feathers and leaves, Clutch size is 2-3 eggs, which are incubated in about 28-34 days by the female alone. The chicks fledge after 32-33 days, and are fed by both parents. At 42 days, they have learned to fly.

Feeding habits

It is partly diurnal, and feeds mostly on insects, although small rodents and birds may also be eaten

Video African Barred Owlet


copyright: Alex Garcia


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
African Barred Owlet status Least Concern



Distribution map

African Barred Owlet distribution range map

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