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African Barred Owlet - BirdForum Opus

Includes Ngami Owlet; Scheffler's Owlet, Chestnut Owlet

Glaucidium capense


A small owl which reaches a maximum size of 22cm (8¾ in). No ear tufts. The females are larger, but otherwise the sexes are similar.

  • Chestnut brown
  • White spotted upperparts and head
  • Buff underparts
  • Pale face mask
  • Yellow iris
  • Feathered feet


Photo © by Neil
Sabi Sands, South Africa, August 2008

Southern half of Africa
Western Africa: Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Cameroon and DRC
Eastern Africa: Kenya, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi and Uganda
Southern Africa: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Swaziland


Some authorities place this species in genus Taenioglaux.


This is a polytypic species consisting of three[1] to five subspecies[2]:

  • G. c. scheffleri:
  • G. c. ngamiense:
  • G. c. capense:
  • G. c. etchecopari:
  • G. c. castaneum:
  • North-eastern Zaire (Semliki Valley) and south-western Uganda (Bwamba Forest) - Together with etchecopari sometimes regarded as full species, Chestnut Owlet

Several of the above have been split into full species by some authorities


Woodland and forests, and on forest edges, more open savannah and along rivers.


It is partly diurnal.


The diet includes insects such as beetles, grasshoppers and caterpillars, as well as small birds, mammals and reptiles.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. König, C. and F. Weick 2008. Owls of the World, second edition. Christopher Helm, London. ISBN 978-0-7136-6548-2

Recommended Citation

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