Medium-sized owl, more frequently seen in the daytime than other owls. Especially active around dawn and dusk, when it flies lazily over open fields or marshes in search of small mammals. Overall rather pale brown, palest on belly, with streaks and spots on wings and chest. Large buffy patch near the wingtips easily visible in flight. Females darker brown than males. Rarely heard vocalizing away from breeding grounds, where it makes a low series of hoots and a variety of harsh barking noises.