The pearl-spotted owlet (Glaucidium perlatum) is a small bird of prey found in sub-Saharan Africa. They belong to the Strigidae family, otherwise known as the typical owls or the true owls, which contains most species of owl. As part of the genus Glaucidium, or pygmy owls, they are commonly referred to as 'owlets' due to their diminutive size.
Pearl-spotted owlets are brownish and heavily spotted white, with two distinct black false 'eyes' at the back of their head. They are often confused with an African barred owlet. The pearl-spotted owlet is one of the smallest owls in Africa with a length of 17 to 21 cm. Both males and females have similar plumage colouration. The facial disc is off-white and the eyes are yellow. At the back of the head there are two striking false black 'eyes' with a white outline. The upper parts are cinnamon-brown with white spots. The tail and flight feathers are brown, with large white spots forming bars in flight. The bill and cere are pale greenish yellow, the legs are feathered white and feet are yellow. Juveniles are similar to adults but the head and back spots may be lacking or much reduced and the false 'face' is very obvious.
Pearl-spotted owlets are often confused with African barred owlets, which have finely barred (not spotted) head and back, a blotched (not streaked) breast, barring across the upper breast, lack the false 'eyes', and have a proportionally large head.