The spotted eagle-owl (Bubo africanus) is a medium-sized species of owl, one of the smallest of the eagle owls. Its length is 45 centimetres (18 in) and its weight is from 480 to 850 grams (1.1 to 1.9 lb). It has a 100 to 140 centimetres (39 to 55 in) wingspan. The facial disk is off white to pale ochre and the eyes are yellow. It has prominent ear tufts, and the upper body is dusky brown, the lower parts off-white with brown bars. Prior to 1999 the spotted eagle-owl was considered conspecific with the greyish eagle-owl, but now it is classed as a separate species.
Its prey consists of small mammals, birds, insects, frogs, and reptiles. It often swallows quite large prey whole, with much head-jerking, and if the object is really challenging, pausing and resting with the mouth full. Prey too large for such treatment it will tear in the normal raptorial fashion, and it also tears shreds off prey to feed nestlings. The male will hunt and bring food when the female cannot leave the nest. Sometimes, even in conditions verging on starvation, he will tear the head off a mouse, but bring the body for the female to feed to the young, or to eat herself if the eggs have not yet hatched.