This abundant native diurnal bird of prey is found throughout New Zealand occupying farmland, tussockland, swamps and forest edges. Like all raptors they possess a short hooked bill, long sharp talons and 'fingered' wings. Juveniles are very dark brown and become paler as they age. Old males have gray upper parts and pale underparts. Both sexes are alike but females are larger. They are commonly seen soaring and gliding in search of prey.