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Cooper's Hawk

From Opus

FemalePhoto by plwilliams St. George, Utah
Photo by plwilliams
St. George, Utah
Accipiter cooperii


[edit] Identification

Length 14-20" (36-51 cm), wingspan 28" (71 cm)
A crow-sized hawk with long tail, short rounded wings, and tail tip rounded, not squared-off.
The Adult is slate-gray above, with a dark cap and finely rust-barred below.
The immature is brown above, whitish below with fine streaks. Cooper's Hawks mature rapidly for birds their size; a full 25 percent of young birds breed the year after they are hatched, and the rest the year after that.

[edit] Similar species

Most similar to Sharp-shinned Hawk, but larger on average, with more rounded tail rather than notched or straight.
In flight, the wings are brought forward with Sharp-shinned, but extend straight out with Cooper's. The head shape is different, with Cooper's having a longer, more "blocky" head. Also similar to Northern Goshawk, especially immature birds.

JuvenilePhoto by digishooterWofford Heights, Kern Co, California, USA, November 2010
Photo by digishooter
Wofford Heights, Kern Co, California, USA, November 2010

[edit] Distribution

Breeds from British Columbia east to Manitoba and Canadian Maritimes, and south to Mexico, Gulf Coast, and northern Florida; absent or local throughout much of Great Plains.

Winters from Central America north to British Columbia and southern New England.

[edit] Taxonomy

This is a monotypic species[1].

[edit] Habitat

Deciduous and, less often, coniferous forests, especially those interrupted by meadows and clearings.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Diet

Feeds mainly on birds, which it chases relentlessly through the woods. It also takes small mammals and, in the West, lizards and snakes.

[edit] Breeding

4 or 5 dull-white eggs, spotted with brown, on a bulky platform of sticks and twigs, usually more than 20' (6 m) above the ground.
During incubation and the early stages of brooding the young, the male bird does all the hunting, bringing food to both his mate and the nestlings.

[edit] Vocalisation

Loud cack-cack-cack-cack, a little bit lower than the Sharp-shinned Hawk.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, JF. 2010. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2010. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019. Spreadsheet available at
  2. Article concerning wing length and weight of Cooper's Hawks
  3. A thread discussing separation from Sharp-shinned Hawk

[edit] External Links

Originally posted by talon_dfa


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