Length: 13 – 16 inches
Wingspan: 36 – 42 inches
Weight: male: 178 – 314 gm., female: 210 – 342 gm.
A slender owl with long, erect, and closely-set ear tufts. Adult male and female similarly colored, but males are often paler than females. Upperparts of eastern form (wilsonianus) is a blended brown and tawny, while the western form (tuftsi), with its mix of dusky and white, appears lighter and grayer. Underparts of both subspecies are more boldly streaked and cross-hatched with the same blend of colors. Wings show an inconspicuous buff patch at base of primaries, and a small black crescent below at “wrist.” Facial disk is a bright rust in eastern form, and a light tawny color in the western race; eyes of both forms are a yellow-orange, and bills are dark. Juveniles are similar to adults, but often are more richly colored with some blackish brown barring.