This bird's peculiar shape and long legs render it likely to be confused only with a crane at a distance. Very crane-like in flight; the two enlongated central tail feathers project well beyond the remainder of the tail and the legs, producing an unmistakable flight shape. The black leggings are conspicuous.
Juvenile resembles adult but has a shorter tail and yellow (not red), bare facial skin.
Savanna and open grassland from coastal regions to high altitudes. Avoids thick bush and forests.
The prey of these raptors includes grasshoppers to snakes They are attracted to fires for fleeing insects or small animals, but do not eat carrion. They often stamp their feet in long grass to disturb prey; their lower legs are bare with tough scales, to prevent injury or bites. They may be seen chasing prey with open wings to aid balance.
Normally silent, but during aerial display utters a deep croak.