The Roadside Hawk is a relatively small bird of prey found in the Americas. This vocal species is often the most common raptor in its range, is a bird which belongs to the family of Accipitridae and the order of Accipitriformes.

It is measures around 33 to 41 centimeters, in this species the female is slightly larger and heavier (257 and 350 g) than the male (206 to 290 g). Both sexes are similar in the coloring pattern. The eyes, base of the upper mandible and legs are yellow. It has a rufous patch on the base of the primary feathers, which is very conspicuous to flight. The head, back, throat and chest at its top are brownish gray and the belly is white and brown barred. The tail is grey to rufous with four or five black stripes and white tips. The immature ones have a white or reddish beam on the neck and on the top of the back. The lower parts are white or with brown barred chest and belly.

It is distributed from southern Mexico to Argentina through Central America, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru, Guyanas, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. In Colombia they are up to 2600 m high above sea level, in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, el Magdalena Medio, Santander, Boyacá, Pacific coast, Antioquia, Nariño and Valle del Cauca.

In Colombia it is the most common bird of prey. It lives in dry and humid forests in secondary growth, savannahs with gallery forests, stubbles and open areas with scattered trees. Throughout its range, it is very common in tropical and subtropical lowland habitats, except in primary forests, deserts and plains.

It feeds on insects, amphibians, rodents, fish and reptiles (snakes and lizards). It has also been observed catching bats while they sleep in palm trees (Palmira, Valle del Cauca).