A widespread medium-sized African hawk with yellow eyes and legs. Highly variable, both by age, sex, and geographically. Gray, gray-brown, or brown on the back and head, with a white throat. The underparts vary from solidly red to barred red to barred brown. Often shows large white spots on top of the black tail. In a large swath of the range in East and Central Africa, there is an all-dark morph. Breeds in rainforest, monsoon forest, riverine forest, thickets, woodland, and exotic plantations, but it has been known to wander widely into more open country. During the breeding season it will soar high in the sky uttering a short sharp “chwik” call in aerial display; the call is given every 2–3 seconds for over a minute at a time. Similarly-plumaged Little Sparrowhawk is much smaller. Visually very similar to Chestnut-flanked Sparrowhawk in areas where they overlap, but African Goshawk is much larger and far more common. Can also be confused with Long-tailed Hawk, but African Goshawk has a shorter tail, darker upperparts, and a clean white throat.