Adults are slate-grey above with a dark crown and 2 short black moustachial stripes. The throat is unstreaked white, thighs and undertail coverts are unstreaked rufous and rest of the underparts are whitish with black streaks. Close views enable the red `trousers` and vent to be seen. Sexes are similar. Juveniles are generally much browner, with scaled upper parts and streaked buffy thighs and undertail coverts. The Hobby has a distinct first-summer plumage. It has a length of 29-36 cm, a wingspan of 74-84 cm, and weighing 175-285 g.
Habitat and Distribution
This species breeds across Africa, Europe and Asia. It is a long-distance migrant, wintering in Africa and Asia. It is a bird of open country such as farmland, marshes, taiga and savannah. They are widespread in lowlands with scattered small woods.
It will take large insects, such as dragonflies, which it transfers from talons to beak and eats while soaring slowly in circles. It also captures small bats and birds like swallows, swifts, pipits etc. in flight, using its speed and aerobatic skills.
Hobbies nest in old nests of crows and other birds. The tree selected is most often one in a hedge or on the extreme edge of a spinney, whence the bird can observe intruders from a considerable distance. It lays 2-4 eggs. Incubation is said to take 28 days and both parents share in this duty, though the female does the greater part.