The Common Black Hawk is the most northerly member of its genus, with its breeding range extending well into the southwest United States. This northern breeding population is migratory, but the species is resident elsewhere, from northern Mexico south through Central America and northern South America. It also occurs on Cuba. In arid portions of its range it favors riparian corridors but generally in tropical and lower subtropical zones can be found in a variety of forested or open landscapes. The Common Black Hawk feeds on a variety of reptiles and fish, its diet depending in part on the prey that is available, and on the season. The Common Black Hawk is quite similar to its congener the Great Black Hawk (Buteogallus urubitinga), but the Common generally is smaller with more brown in the wings, narrower white bands on the tail, and, in Central America, a brighter yellow cere.