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. Some of these may be treated as separate species including the Namuli apalis (A. lynesi) in Mozambique, yellow-throated apalis (A. flavigularis) of Malawi and Taita apalis (A. fascigularis) in Kenya.
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.
Pairs sing a duetting song with the female's call being higher-pitched than that of the male.
- SASOL Bird e-Guide: Bar-throated Apalis. Downloaded 27/03/07.
- Ian Sinclair & Peter Ryan (2003) Birds of Africa south of the Sahara, Struik, Cape Town.
- Bar-throated apalis - Species text in The Atlas of Southern African Birds.