|juvenile (left) and adult
It is a bird of open country such as farmland, taiga and savannah.
It is an elegant bird of prey, appearing sickle-like in flight with its long pointed wings and square tail. It will take large insects, such as dragonflies, which are transferred from talons to beak and eaten in flight. It also captures small birds in flight.
Its speed and aerobatic skills enable it to take swallows and even swifts on the wing, and Barn Swallows or House Martins have a characteristic "hobby" alarm call.
Adults are slate-grey above, and streaked below, with a white throat. Close views enable the red "trousers" and vent to be seen. Sexes are similar, but juveniles are generally much browner.
Hobbies nest in old nests of crows and other birds, laying 2-4 eggs.
The species has been honored in the naming of a group of board games, Subbuteo, after it.