Typical small hawk-eagle. Small upright crest visible when perched. Adult has dark brown wings and a paler face. In flight, look for densely black-barred underparts, two white bands across the tail, and light brown on the inner part of the underwing (compared with the completely black-and-white underwings of Blyth’s Hawk-Eagle). Visibly smaller than both Blyth’s and Mountain hawk-eagles. Juvenile Wallace’s is pale tawny-brown on the head and on the underparts; the similar Blyth’s Hawk-Eagle has tail barring. Jerdon’s Baza can appear similar, but it has horizontal banding across the breast, whereas juvenile Wallace’s has unmarked underparts, pantaloons (fully feathered legs), and a broader black tip to the tail. Wallace’s Hawk-Eagle is often seen in flight over or perched on a snag in lowland forests and forest edges.