Found in the Americas, including the Rio Grande Valley of Texas in the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and tropical South America.
This mid-sized, slender bird of prey measures about 15 - 20 inches (38 - 51 cm) in length.
There are great variations in the color of the plumage, which could be blackish or grey (particularly males) or reddish / brown (particularly females). They always have a striped abdomen and banded tail. The hooked bill is down-curved.