This species is often considered a subspecies of the Eurasian eagle-owl Bubo bubo and is very similar in appearance. The facial disk is unmarked and has a black border, a feature that is much weaker in the Eurasian form. The base of the primaries is unbanded and rufous. The tail bands have the tawn bands wider than the black ones. A large pale scapular patch is visible on the folded wing. The inner claws are the longest. The last joint of the toes are unfeathered.