• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Cooper's hawk or Sharp-shinned hawk? (1 Viewer)


Hi birders,
I'd like some help ID'ing a hawk. I got some blurry photos of it, and I'm trying to figure out if it's a Cooper's hawk or a sharp-shinned hawk. I spotted this bird at Nisqually Wildlife Refuge in Washington State. Thank you!


  • nisqually_hawk-4.jpg
    137.8 KB · Views: 52
  • nisqually_hawk-2.jpg
    119.4 KB · Views: 54
  • nisqually_hawk.jpg
    127 KB · Views: 34
  • nisqually-26B.jpg
    86.6 KB · Views: 63
  • nisqually-27B.jpg
    114.9 KB · Views: 59

The Bird Nuts

Birding Duo
It's a Cooper's (flat, blocky head, top of beak is even with top of head, eyes toward front of head, tubular body, long tail).


Well-known member
United States
I'm for Cooper's, too. I can see how the tail looks notched in the final image, but I'm seeing a large, bulky head like The Bird Nuts noted. Also, the rich tawny tones on the head contrast against the rest of the upperparts, a good mark for Cooper's.


Thank you, everyone! I know I didn't give you the best quality photos to work with here, so I appreciate all of your inferences. Cooper's hawks are more common in this specific area I was in but the birder I ran into who was watching the hawk was sure it was a sharp-shinned hawk.

Users who are viewing this thread