Family Typical Owls (Strigidae)

Least Concern

Pearl-spotted Owlet (Glaucidium perlatum)


French: Chevêchette perlée German: Perlzwergkauz Spanish: Mochuelo perlado

Strix perlata


, 1817,



Sometimes considered part of a species-group centred on G. passerinum (which see). Race diurnum sometimes synonymized with licua; birds from N Tanzania described as kilimense, which here included in diurnum. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • G. p. perlatum (Vieillot, 1817) – Senegambia to W Sudan; possibly also Liberia.
  • G. p. diurnum Clancey, 1968 – E Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, NW Somalia and Uganda S to Angola and Namibia, N Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
  • G. p. licua (M. H. C. Lichtenstein, 1842) – S Namibia, S Botswana and N & E South Africa.
  • Descriptive notes

    17–20 cm; wingspan c. 40 cm; male 61–86 g, female 61–147g. Head cinnamon-brown with off-white facial disc, whitish eyebrows; nape has 2 black patches rimmed... read more


    Series of loud whistles rising in pitch and volume to climax of long, loud notes; female higher-... read more


    Especially common in bushveld and open savanna woodland, but also occurs in grassland, riverine... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly arthropods; also bats, birds, rodents and lizards. Most diurnal African owl, especially in winter, but often hunts at night. Hunts... read more


    Lays Aug–Nov, peak Sept–Oct. Territorial throughout year. Nest in tree cavity, especially old nest of barbet (Capitonidae... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Widespread; locally common to rare in various parts of range. No estimates of global population size, but populations... read more

    Recommended citation

    Holt, D.W., Berkley, R., Deppe, C., Enríquez Rocha, P., Petersen, J.L., Rangel Salazar, J.L., Segars, K.P., Wood, K.L. & Marks, J.S. (2019). Pearl-spotted Owlet (Glaucidium perlatum). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 13 December 2019).