Size: L: 40 cm. Wt: Males: 315 g. Females: 380 g. Males and females are slightly dimorphic in size, and males are often slightly paler than females. This species is not seasonally dimorphic.

Adult: body chunky; ear tufts minute; upperparts mottled white, tawny, buff, and dark brown; facial disk often paler than rest of body; white "eyebrows"; eyes yellow; upper breast tawny, with bold brown streaks; lower breast pale, with faint streaking; in flight, shows buffy wing-patch above, black wrist-patch below; bill small, hooked, black; legs pale buff, with large, taloned feet

Nestling: semialtricial and downy; facial disk already apparent; down thick, short, soft, extending to claws; upperparts pale buff, with darker zone bordering mantle; underparts white with buff tinge; bill hooked, yellow with black tip