As Africa’s most diurnal owl, the pearl-spotted owlet can be observed hunting both during the day and at night (4). A generalist feeder, it will consume a variety of prey types, with lizards, rodents, insects and bats all targeted. Despite its relatively small size, powerful talons allow the pearl-spotted owlet to hunt prey much larger than itself (4) (8). Whilst hunting, this tiny predator may be seen bobbing its head up and down and flicking its tail in excitement (9).
The pearl-spotted owlet breeds between August and November, with breeding peaking between September and October. Pairs fiercely compete with other birds, such as woodpeckers and barbets, for holes in trees to make nests (2) (9). Nests may be reused each season, and pairs will maintain territories, often by destroying the nesting sites of competitors. Between two and four eggs are laid, and the female will incubate the eggs for some 29 days, with offspring fledging after a further 31 days, and becoming fully independent two weeks later (2) (5).