This “crow-sized” owl is diurnal (active during the day). Females are slightly larger than males (typical of most raptors), and considerably heavier, averaging 411 grams compared to 350 grams for males. Plumage is tawny-brown on the body with streaking on the chest and belly. Wings and tail are dark brown blotched with white, primary flight feathers are tan with black stripes. A distinctive black patch on the underwing occurs near the bend (wrist). Feet are covered in short buff-coloured feathers. Dark eye orbits surround yellow eyes in a circular facial disc. Ear tufts are small and inconspicuous unless the owl is startled or defensive. Ear tufts may possibly aid in making birds more difficult to see in vegetation by breaking the line of the circular facial disc. The dark eye orbits with their distinct white edging may assist in cutting glare while hunting during the day. Juvenile owls are similar in colour to adults but retain more black on the facial disc until their first fall. The adults call is similar to the sound of a small dog barking.