Wings broad and rounded, narrower at base; tail rather long. Legs feathered to toes. Mostly black with short bushy crest, some white about head and white barrings on thighs; tail black with three whitish bands. In flight from below, flight feathers prominently barred black and white. Immature is mostly dark chocolate brown with white to buff mottling, especially on head, and white barring on back; throat white, most of lower underparts barred with white.
Habits and Behavior
Very conspicuous, frequently seen soaring high overhead, even in the heat of the day; rarely seen perched. Calls regularly when soaring, an unmistakable loud, mellow wheet, wheet, wheeteeeeeeea, with long slurred note last; sometimes the last note is given alone.