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Coopers Hawk

Accipiter cooperii


The average size of an adult male ranges from 220 to 410 g (7.7–14.5 oz) with a length between 35 and 46 cm (14–18 in). The adult male is significantly smaller than the average female, which are 330 to 680 g (11.7–24 oz) and 42 to 50 cm (17–20 in) long. Its wingspan ranges from 62 to 90 cm (25–36 in).[3] Individuals living in the eastern regions tend to be larger and heavier than those in the western regions.[4] All have short rounded wings and a very long tail with dark bands, round-ended at the tip. Adults have red eyes and have a black cap, with blue-gray upper parts and white underparts with fine, thin, reddish bars. Their tail is blue gray on top and pale underneath, barred with black bands. [3] Immatures have yellow eyes and have a brown cap, with brown upper parts and pale underparts with thin black streaks mostly ending at the belly. Their tail is brown on top and pale underneath, barred with dark bands. The eyes of this hawk, as in most predatory birds, face forward, enabling good depth perception for hunting and catching prey while flying at top speeds. They have hooked bills that are well adapted for tearing flesh of prey.[4] Immatures are somewhat larger than a Sharp-shinned Hawk and smaller than a Northern Goshawk, though small males nearly overlap with large female Sharp-shinned Hawks, and large female Cooper's Hawks nearly overlap with small male Goshawks. The Cooper's Hawk appears long-necked in flight and has been described by birdwatchers as looking like a "flying cross". The Cooper’s Hawk is seen mostly flying with quick, consecutive wing beats and a short glide, though they may also soar.[


Their breeding range extends from southern Canada to northern Mexico. They are generally distributed more to the south than the other North American Accipiters, the Sharp-shinned Hawk and the Northern Goshawk. Birds from most of the Canadian and northern-U.S.-range migrate in winter, and some Cooper's Hawks winter as far south as Panama).[6] The Cooper’s Hawk occur in various types of mixed deciduous forests and open woodlands, including small woodlots, riparian woodlands in dry country, open and pinyon woodlands, and forested mountainous regions and also now nests in many cities.[6] They were once thought to be adverse to cities and towns, but are now fairly common urban and suburban birds. The cities provide plenty Rock Pigeon and Mourning Dove for the Cooper’s Hawk to prey on.[3]


The Cooper’s Hawks are monogamous and most mate for life. Pairs will breed once a year and raise one brood per breeding season. Courtship displays include stylized flights with the wings positioned in a deep arc. During their flight displays the male will begin by diving toward the female. A slow speed-chase follows involving the male flying around the female exposing his expanded under tail coverts to her. The male raises his wings high above the back and flies in a wide arc with slow, rhythmic flapping. Courting usually occurs on bright, sunny days, in midmorning.[4] After pairing has occurred, the males make a bowing display before beginning to build the nest.[3] [edit] Breeding Juvenile Their breeding habitats are forested areas. The breeding pair builds a stick nest in large trees. Over a two week period the pair builds the nest. The nests are piles of sticks around 27 inches in diameter and 6- 17 inches high with a cup- shaped depression in the middle that is 8 inches across and 4 inches deep. Their nests are built in pines, oaks, Douglas- firs, beeches, spruces, and other tree species usually on flat ground rather than on a hillside. The nests typically are about 25–50 feet high off the ground, halfway up the tree, and out on a horizontal branch.[3] The clutch size is usually 3 to 5 eggs. The cobalt-blue eggs average about 48 x 38 mm (1.9 x 1.5 in) and weigh about 43 g (1.5 oz). The female incubates the eggs between 30 to 36 days.[4] The hatchlings are about 28 g (1 oz) and 9 cm (3.8 in) long and are completely covered in white down.[3] They are brooded for about two weeks by the female, while her mate forages for food. The fledging stage is reached at 25 to 34 days of age, though the offspring will return to the nest to be fed until they become independent around 8 weeks. Eggs and nestlings are preyed on, rarely, by raccoons, crows as well as other competing Cooper's Hawks. Adults rarely fall prey to larger raptors, namely Red-tailed Hawks, Great Horned Owls, Peregrine Falcons, Golden Eagles, and Northern Goshawks.[4] [edit] Communication Cooper’s Hawks communicate using vocalizations and displays. Vocal is probably preferred over display, because the denseness of their habitat could prevent displays from being seen from a distance. Males are usually submissive to females and will listen for reassuring call notes the females make when they are willing to be approached.[8] The males have a higher pitched voice than females.[4] [edit] Lifespan Cooper’s Hawks have been known to live as long as 12 years in the wild. However, the oldest known living hawk was 20 years and 4 months

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MichelleMccracken 7 years ago

pretty sure its what's left of a toad , Frog legs , it's what's for breakfast, lol, got pictures of this guy a week later with a squirrel
Thanks for your comment

mpvettch 7 years ago

What's he eating? And PS. Wow!

MichelleMccracken 8 years ago

Thanks, was interesting to witness this, then I saw the following week at the same spot, one of these hawks , eating a squirrel that was gross

brandonryanfig01 8 years ago

Cute. 🐶⛄

MichelleMccracken 8 years ago

Thanks, it was pretty cool , even tho I felt bad for the frog, it was cool to watch this guy with it

Mona Pirih
Mona Pirih 8 years ago

Nice series..

MichelleMccracken 8 years ago

I watched this guy for a bit, saw him with a squirrel a few weeks later. I have some photos of that also

Telse 8 years ago

Delicious photos Michelle.

Josh Asel
Josh Asel 8 years ago

freakin' awesome. rarely do we see behavior and feeding habits like this from such an elusive animal.

MichelleMccracken 9 years ago

I entered this and a few other pictures in the NWF Photo Contest,It is still open , so enter some of yours and show the world what you are lucky enough to see, Just wanted to pass the info along, just in case some of you want to enter

MichelleMccracken 9 years ago

Thanks, this was exciting and kinda gross all at the same time, lol

joan6153 9 years ago

Fantastic pictures. Love it!

Arun 9 years ago

nice treat ..

MichelleMccracken 9 years ago

I will add it 2the mission as soon as I can get the beehives 1 off. I have such fits with the missions options. I have been in contact with the help desk al morning. Thanks. I will b posting more pis off this guy later 2day. 2days meal as a squirrel gros 2 watch. But also fascinating at the same time

ChristyHolland 9 years ago

Great series!! Coops are so much fun! I would love you to add it to Raptors of North America:

MichelleMccracken 9 years ago

ok I will do that

Ava T-B
Ava T-B 9 years ago

This gourmet spotting could also go in the Hunters and Animal Feeding Behaviors mission.

MichelleMccracken 9 years ago

Thank You Very Much, I was Pretty Excited and Could Hardly Wait to Get Them Downloaded

Ismael Chaves
Ismael Chaves 9 years ago

Amazing series,

MichelleMccracken 9 years ago

Your Welcome

MichelleMccracken 9 years ago

Thank You , I have about 50 pic's I took

williefromwi 9 years ago

wonderful spotting, thank you for sharing

harsuame 9 years ago

Espectacular que bellas series

Spotted by

Largo, Florida, USA

Spotted on May 30, 2012
Submitted on May 30, 2012

Spotted for Mission


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