A common hawk of wet deciduous woodlands, they are the noisiest of the buteos, especially during spring courtship. A perch-hunter of the forest understory, it feeds on frogs, snakes, lizards, and small mammals. Females are larger than males, sexes similar in appearance, juveniles differ from adults. Polytypic. Length 15–19"; wingspan 37–42".
A medium-size buteo with rounded wing tips that do not reach the tip of the tail. Adult: brown above with lighter feather edges and some streaking on head. Rufous on the upperwing coverts gives the “red shoulders.” The primaries are barred or checkered black and white, the dark tail has 3 white bands. Underparts are rufous with white barring. Juvenile: mostly brown above, with less rufous on the shoulders than