A small, round, brownish owl that is often active by day. It has white speckles on its back and tail; white spots (not bars) on the crown and head are diagnostic. The presence of white-ringed, black blobs on the back of the head give the impression of “false eyes”. Singles and pairs are common in moist and arid wooded savanna, including near villages. It calls an accelerating series of upslurred, piping “fwooo” notes, followed by a set of downward “puuueeeww” whistles. The similar African Barred Owlet is larger; it has bars (not spots) on the head, and it lacks “false eyes”.