Circaetus Vieill., Analyse, p. 23 (1816).
Type, Falco gallicus Gmelin.
In this genus the bill is moderate, greatly hooked and with the culmen much rounded; nostril oval and slightly oblique, the loral bristles growing over it in an upwards direction; wing long, the fourth quill longest and the third and fifth but little shorter; the primaries exceed the secondaries by more than the length of the tarsus ; tarsi long, not feathered except for about an inch next the tibia; covered all round with small ill-defined hexagonal imbricate scales; toes short, the inner and outer about equal in length ; claws short and not much curved.
There is no crest but the feathers of the nape are lengthened and lanceolate.
The genus contains species represented chiefly in Africa but one ranges to Europe and Asia as far East and South as India.