A big-headed but overall medium-sized forest eagle that eats primarily snakes. Can be found at all heights, from the canopy down to near the ground. The long banded tail, brown back with a rufous hind-collar, white breast, and barred flanks make this species unique within its range. Western birds have white throats, while eastern birds have black-spotted throats. Frequently heard calling in the forest, uttering a long series of “HOW, how, HOW, how” caws that are reminiscent of a hornbill. Throughout range, co-occurs with the similar-looking Cassin’s Hawk-Eagle, but Congo Serpent-Eagle is smaller, has a black line down the center of the throat, and appears bigger-headed.