Medium-sized hawk with long tail and thin wings. Flies with wings held in a V-shape, low over open fields and marshes, listening for rodents lurking below. Distinctive foraging behavior and conspicuous white patch on rump in all plumage's. Females and immature s are warm brown. Adult males gray above and whitish below with black wingtips.
Most common roadside raptor across much of North America. Often perches atop telephone poles, light posts, and edges of trees. Incredible variation in plumage's, including less common dark morphs and various regional differences. Eastern adults have brilliant reddish-orange tail and pale underparts with obvious band of dark marks across belly. Western birds are typically darker. Immature s do not have a red tail.