A stocky, medium to large sized raptor with broad, rounded wings, a short neck and a short, rounded brown and grey barred tail. They are up to 55cm in length with a wingspan of 150cm; the female is just slightly larger than the male. The plumage can be quite variable in colour from dark grey-brown to quite pale, but all birds have dark wings. The legs are yellow and unfeathered and the hooked beak is brownish. The distinctive mewing call will often indicate their presence nearby but they are also quite sedentary and are the most likely raptor to be found perched on posts or trees or on the ground hunting for worms.