Long-winged, northern raptor found in open areas like fields and marshes. Plumage variable; light morphs generally pale with dark belly and dark patches on "wrists." Dark morphs have brown or blackish body with finely banded tail and striking white flight feathers. Some birds intermediate. Hovers often, kestrel-like, flapping wings while looking down. Also perches at edges of tree branches and tops of trees, places larger hawks are too heavy to perch. Breeds in far northern tundra and moves south irregularly to winter in open fields and grasslands. Compare with other Buteo hawks, such as Red-tailed Hawk and Common Buzzard, where ranges overlap. Note size, small bill, shaggy feathers on legs, and long and narrow wings.