The bar-throated apalis is a slender bird with a long tail and is 11 to 13 cm in length. The plumage varies depending on the subspecies: the upperparts can be grey or green while the underparts are white or pale yellow. All forms have a narrow black band across the breast, white outer tail-feathers and a pale eye. The black bill is fairly long and slender and is slightly curved. Females are similar to males but have a narrower breastband. Juveniles have buffer underparts and may have an incomplete breastband.
Habitat and Distribution
It inhabits forest and scrub in Southern and East Africa from southern and eastern parts of South Africa north as far as the Chyulu Hills in Kenya. In the northern part of is range it is found only in highland areas where there are a number of subspecies restricted to isolated mountain ranges.
This species forages for caterpillars and other insects amongst vegetation, often forming mixed-species flocks with other birds.
The oval, purse-shaped nest is made mainly of plant material. Three eggs are laid, these are bluish-white with reddish-brown spots. The breeding season lasts from August to January.
Calls and Songs
Pairs sing a duetting song with the female's call being higher-pitched than that of the male.