Adult distinguished from all other dark brown eagles by its unfeathered, creamy white legs. At rest it appears to have an unusually large head with big yellow eyes. In flight the dark brown underwing coverts contrast with almost white primaries and secondaries.
Juvenile resembles adult and differs from juvenile Black-chested Snake-Eagle by its darker brown coloration, but differentiation can be difficult.
Savanna, avoiding open grassland and forests.
Rarely calls. A croaking 'hok-hok-hok-hok' is uttered in flight.