Cooper’s Hawk

The Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) is a medium-sized hawk found in forested areas across southern Canada, the United States and northern Mexico. They are permanent residents in most of the United States, however northern birds migrate to the southern U.S. and Mexico in winter.

As with other birds of prey, females of this species are larger than males. Adults have short broad wings and a long round-ended tail with dark bands. They have a dark cap, blue-grey upperparts and white underparts with red bars. Also, their eyes are red and their legs yellow. This bird is somewhat larger than a Sharp-shinned Hawk, but smaller than a Northern Goshawk.

These birds surprise and capture small and medium-sized birds from cover or while flying quickly through dense vegetation. They will also prey small mammals such as squirrels, and even lizards, frogs, snakes and large insects. They often pluck the feathers off their prey on a post or other perch.

This bird was named after the naturalist William Cooper, one of the founders of the New York Museum of Natural History.