African Barred Owlets inhabit tall, open woodlands, especially along rivers and forest edges, where they hunt from dusk to dawn (and sometimes on overcast days) for insects and small rodents and reptiles. These are small owls, with a wingspan up to 40cm and weighing only 100-140g.
Pairs of African Barred Owlets are monogamous, defend a territory and nest in holes in large trees during spring. Clutches containing 2 or 3 eggs are incubated by the female for between 4 and 5 weeks. Chicks fledge at around 6 weeks old, but can be dependent on their parents for many months thereafter still.
African Barred Owlets occurs over much of central, eastern and southern Africa, with an isolated population in Ghana and the Ivory Coast in west Africa. In South Africa they are found in the Lowveld of Mpumalanga and Limpopo (mostly in and around the Kruger National Park), with a small and isolated population (G.c.capense) on the coast and adjacent interior of the Eastern Cape between East London and Port Elizabeth. Genetic studies may well prove the latter population, considered locally threatened, to be a separate species. The IUCN considers the African Barred Owlet of least concern, despite noting a decrease in its population.