The Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) is a forest dwelling hawk. They eat mostly smaller ground dwelling birds but also some small mammals and reptiles. They have short wings and long tails that make them agile flyers in wooded terrain.
Cooper’s Hawks nest in coniferous forests in the crotch or by the trunk of a tree.
As Accipiters age, their eyes get progressively darker. Also note the dark cap.
Cooper’s Hawk identification tips:
Cooper’s hawks have rounded wings that are short in comparison to their tails. Adults have blue-gray upper parts with a reddish barred breast and belly. Juveniles are brown on the upper parts with a buffy streaked breast and belly. The tail is rounded at the end due to the middle tail feathers or deck feathers being longer than the outer tail feathers. Adults have a reddish breast with light barring. Juveniles have a brown streaked beast. Cooper’s hawks fly with a flap flap glide wing beat.
Cooper’s Hawks migrate from colder climates such as Canada and Alaska during the winter. There are year round populations in much of the United States.
- Length: 16.5 inches
- Wingspan: 31 inches
- Weight: 450 grams (Females are larger than the males)
- Nest: Tree
- Usually lay 4 or 5 eggs (can be 3-6)
- Incubation: Both parents incubate the eggs. Incubation lasts 32 to 36 days
- Fledge: 27 to 34 days
Cooper’s hawks are agile forest hawks. They feed mostly on smaller birds. The long curved tail helps them maneuver through forests while hunting. The curved tail is a good way to tell a Cooper’s hawk from a sharp-shinned hawk.
As a Cooper’s Hawk ages, its eyes turn from yellow to a pumpkin orange. The juvenile Cooper’s Hawks has a brown streaked breast rather than barred.
Cooper’s hawks are forest birds. They prey mostly on smaller birds but may also eat small reptiles and small mammals. Because of the short wings and long tail, Cooper’s hawks are very maneuverable. As with most raptors, Cooper’s hawks exhibit reverse sexual dimorphism… the females are larger than the males.