This small, buzzard-sized eagle has pale and dark colour forms: in both of these it differs from Wahlberg's Eagle by its shorter, broader tail and broader wings. The underparts and underwing coverts are whitish in the pale colour form; the dark form is uniformly dark brown below, with a paler brown tail. From above, a small white patch is visible at the base of the forewing, giving the impression of a pair of white 'braces'. The dark brown on the head and face of the pale form extends well below the eyes and contrasts with the small, white throat.
Juvenile resembles adult.
Fynbos, Karoo, semi-desert, savanna; usually in mountainous country.
High-pitched 'kee-keeee' or 'pee-pee-pee-pee'.