A captive bird in South Africa
The long-crested eagle is a distinctive eagle when perched due to the long, shaggy crest and all dark plumage. The adults are blackish-brown with long, thin feathers growing from the rear of the crown which are held erect to form a crest. The secondary feathers are black barred with light grey and with broad black tips, the primary feathers and median underwing coverts are white, forming a noticeable white patch on the upper and lower surfaces of the wing which is visible in flight. The tail is black, barred with pale grey. The eyes of adults are bright yellow but can be darker in females, and the cere and feet are yellow, paling to white in males. The juveniles are similar to the adults, but the plumage is lighter in coloor and the crest is not developed and their eyes are grey. The body length is 53–58 cm (21–23 in) and the weight of the female is 1,300–1,500 g (46–53 oz), while the smaller male is 912–1,300 g (32.2–45.9 oz).