The rounded head with no ear tufts and the white spotting on the back and tail distinguish this species from African and Southern White-faced Scops-Owls. It may be differentiated from African Barred Owlet by its smaller size and the lack of barring on the head and upper parts. It shows two black 'false eyes' on the nape.
It is very small in size (maximum lgenth 18 cm). It has no ear tufts.
Juvenile resembles adult.
Thornveld and broad-leaved woodland.
The pearl-spotted owlet is diurnal. The advantage of being active during the day include an extended hunting period and the chance to catch species specifically active during the day. Its prey inclused small mammals, birds, invertebrates and reptiles such as agamas, skinks and lizards. Diurnal hunting also elimimated interference from other owls. A disadvantage of being active during the day is that it leaves this small owl vulnerable to predation. Its 'false eyes' on the back of the head that look like a staring 'face' discourages predators from sneaking up unseen from behind.
These owlets tend to nest in holes in trees which either occur naturally or have been excavated by a woodpecker or barbet. The breeding season occurs from August to November and on average two to four eggs are laid. The eggs are incubated for approximately 30 days.
A series of 'tu-tu-tuee-tuee' whistles, rising and the descending in pitch. Often calls during the day.