Gray-backed Hawk is endemic to the Tumbesian biogeographic region of western Ecuador and immediately adjacent Peru. It ranges in semi-deciduous and evergreen forests from 100-1400 m where it soars over the forests, vocalizing as it defends its territories. The species feeds on various food items such as snakes, small rodents, frogs, lizards, crustacean, beetles and katydids that are captured from elevated perches. Though formerly widespread in the region, due to heavy deforestation and habitat modification it now is only patchily distributed. In Ecuador, for example, only 4-5 localities remain that contain any substantial population, the largest of which is in the Machalilla National Park. In Peru, the Cerros de Amotape National Park, Tumbes Reserved Zone and adjacent buffer areas to the north in Tumbes harbor at least 100 individuals.