It is one of the smallest owls in the world measuring about 16.5 cm. It has two plumage coloration, as in other owls. There is a medium gray, with the white-tailed chest light gray and bordered, the dominant color of the whole plume. You can find reddish brown specimens, where the tail is the same color and hardly distinguishes the white stripes. In both cases, white eyebrow highlighted. It weighs about 63 grams.
It is found from the United States to Argentina. In Brazil, it is commonly found in edges of upland and floodplain forests, savannas and fields with trees.