This is one of the largest species of Buteo. Length can range from 50 to 66 cm (20 to 26 in) and wingspan from 115 to 160 cm (45 to 63 in). Females, at an average mass of 1.3 kg (2.9 lb), are larger than males, at an average of 1.1 kg (2.4 lb). There are many different colour forms, but usually long-leggeds have a clear orange tint to the plumage, red or orange tail, pale head and largely white underwings. There is usually a distinctive black carpal patch and dark trailing edge to the wing. The rump and “trousers” are often dark or deep rufous. Plumage varies from ghostly pale individuals to very dark ones. Some plumages are almost similar to those of the steppe buzzard, the eastern subspecies of the common buzzard (Buteo buteo vulpinus), but long-legged buzzards have longer wings and are more like rough-legged buzzards or even a small Aquila eagle.