Medium-sized, yellow-eyed, heavily streaked with pale and dark browns above, and buff-white below with heavy dark streaks. The short ear tufts are difficult to see. In flight, note the buff patch on the outer part of the upper side of the wing, and a dark crescent near the bend of the wing on the underside. Its characteristic flight is buoyant and butterfly-like as it flies across open fields close to the ground. Voice is varied with barks (like a small dog), hoots, squeaks and hissing sounds--although it is usually silent on wintering grounds in Missouri.