The Savanna Hawk is 46–61 cm in length and weighs 845 g. The adult has a rufous body with grey mottling above and fine black barring below. The flight feathers of the long broad wings are black, and the tail is banded black and white. The legs are yellow. The call is a loud scream keeeeru. Immature birds are similar to the adults but have darker, duller upperparts, paler underparts with coarser barring, and a whitish supercilium. This species perches very horizontally, and its legs are strikingly long.