Pale gray overall with yellow legs and base of bill; barred black-and-white tail. Subtle gray barring on underparts and upperparts. Adults extremely similar to Gray Hawk but essentially no range overlap; Gray Hawk lacks barring on back and crown. On adult in flight, note barred primary tips (black in Gray Hawk); absence of dark trailing edge to wings (present in Gray Hawk); dark gray uppertail coverts (white in Gray Hawk); and wider white subterminal tail band (all white tail bands equally wide in Gray Hawk).
Lacks the rufous wing patches of Roadside Hawk. Juvenile most similar to Roadside Hawk; dark brown above and white below with dark streaks on underparts; note bolder white eyebrow and white cheek. Found singly in open wooded habitats, often perched conspicuously.