Usually seen soaring low over open fields, marshy areas and prairies, this hawk feeds on small birds, mammals, snakes, frogs, and large insects. It will also eat carrion when available. It uses its disc-like facial feathers to focus sounds and locate prey in dense grassy areas. The nest is an small platform of sticks and grass elevated off the ground in dense grass or marsh vegetation. During the winter this species roosts communally on the ground in groups of 5 to 20 individuals.
The four-digit banding code is NOHA.