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

ModuleHawk

New member
United States
Hello,

I'm having a difficult time identifying this Cooper's or Sharp-shinned hawk.

I think it's a Cooper's, but let me know what you think.

Spotted in Ann Arbor, MI area today (1/9/2021).

Thanks!
 

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Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
Yes Cooper’s Hawk.

Your bird is in immature/juvenile plumage and shows the features below that tell you it is a Cooper’s not Sharp-shinned ...

  • - note the yellow eye in juve Sharpie the eye is orange
  • - note the breast streaking - in juvenile/imm Sharpie, the heavy streaks extend evenly down to the lower belly, in juvenile/imm Coopers, the streaks on the upper breast become more sparse going down to the belly with more spotting with very fine streaks as we can see here
  • - note the flattish head shape - more rounded in Sharpie
  • - note where the eye is positioned off-centre and forward nearer to the bill than the rear of the head, giving it a slightly more aggressive look cf to Sharpie that has the eye positioned in the centre of the head and looks ‘kinder’
  • - look at the colour of the back of the head - golden brown with white streaking. A Sharpie has a darker head with no (or very little white)
  • - note general structure - evenly proportioned shape with broad chest and ‘normally proportioned head’ - A Sharpie generally looks lighter build with a proportionally smaller head
  • - Worth noting but not visible here, the outer tail feathers on Coopers are shorter than the central tail feathers - but when viewing a perched bird from the back, these are not visible because of the way birds fold their tail feathers but this feature would be noted if you had a view of the undertail.
There are other differences but on the OP bird in this position and perched, these are the main ones.

Btw Welcome to Birdforum! 🙂
 
Last edited:

ModuleHawk

New member
United States
Welcome to the Forum, Module. That looks like a Cooper's Hawk.

Happy to be here, thanks!

I have Coopers Hawks all over my area, and I would agree, Coopers Hawk. Check this out, Dave Brown explains how to identify these 2 with ease.

That video is great, being new to this I guess I'm "lucky" to get a difficult one.

Yes Cooper’s Hawk.

Your bird is in immature/juvenile plumage and shows the features below that tell you it is a Cooper’s not Sharp-shinned ...

  • - note the yellow eye in juve Sharpie the eye is orange
  • - note the breast streaking - in juvenile/imm Sharpie, the heavy streaks extend evenly down to the lower belly, in juvenile/imm Coopers, the streaks on the upper breast become more sparse going down to the belly with more spotting with very fine streaks as we can see here
  • - note the flattish head shape - more rounded in Sharpie
  • - note where the eye is positioned off-centre and forward nearer to the bill than the rear of the head, giving it a slightly more aggressive look cf to Sharpie that has the eye positioned in the centre of the head and looks ‘kinder’
  • - look at the colour of the back of the head - golden brown with white streaking. A Sharpie has a darker head with no (or very little white)
  • - note general structure - evenly proportioned shape with broad chest and ‘normally proportioned head’ - A Sharpie generally looks lighter build with a proportionally smaller head
  • - Worth noting but not visible here, the outer tail feathers on Coopers are shorter than the central tail feathers - but when viewing a perched bird from the back, these are not visible because of the way birds fold their tail feathers but this feature would be noted if you had a view of the undertail.
There are other differences but on the OP bird in this position and perched, these are the main ones.

Btw Welcome to Birdforum! 🙂

Amazing bullets, thank you! I didn't know the eye color was different, that's a huge help.
 

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