Very variable in colour, from buff to dark brown, occasionally all-white or having mixed light and dark plumage. The flight shape is diagnostic, with long, straight-edged wings and a long, narrow, square-ended tail. Pale-form birds could be confused with pale-form Booted Eagle but differ in flight shape and by the long pencil-thin tail, as well as in having more white on the head. At rest it shows a small, pointed crest.
Female larger and usually darker than male. Juvenile resembles adult.
Woodland and savanna.
A drawn-out whistle while soaring, and yelping 'kop-yop-yip-yip-yip' when perched.