Tiny, rare hawk of mid-elevation cloud forest. Black upperparts and crown are separated by white band on back of neck, which can be indistinct and hard to see in the field. Underparts are white with broad, dark barring; also note dark comma-shaped blotch on side of neck. Immatures are tinged brown or rusty, with tan or buff neck band. Easily mistaken for Tiny Hawk, which occurs mainly at lower elevations; Semicollared has broader and more diffuse bars on underparts and more prominent neck markings. Typically stays inside forest, hunting small birds; occasionally soars.
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