A rather large, heavily built eagle with a dark, white-tipped bushy crest that gives it a distinctive large-headed look. When raised in alarm, the crest frames the whole face, highlighting the bare yellow lores and eyes, making the head look larger and fiercer. The rufous-brown underparts have neatly arranged dark-edged bold white spots. In flight, shows broad rounded wings with a wide black trailing edge. Commonly seen perched upright in well-wooded areas, with wingtips nearly covering the broad white sub-terminal band on the tail. Its 1-3 note scream is often heard in the forest.