The Black Hawk-Eagle is 23–28 in long and weighs about 2-2.9 lbs. has black plumage with varying patterns on its wings and body, and white speckling in places. It has barred wings, slightly elliptical in shape, and a long, narrow tail which is rarely fanned
Though light and small compared to other eagles, this bird is a powerful predator that frequently hunts relatively large prey. It mainly eats large rodents, opossums and monkeys, as well as, occasionally, bats and birds. Its popular name in Brazil is "Gavião-pega-macaco", which means "monkey-catching hawk". The birds it takes can be quite large, such as toucans,and chachalacas.