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Cooper's Hawk Accipiter cooperii


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Cooper's Hawk
credit: Mdf/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Accipitridae, Hawks and Eagles view all from this family

Description ADULT Has dark blue-gray upperparts, darkest on crown and palest on nape (creating capped effect). Underparts are paler and barred orange-rufous. JUVENILE Has brown upperparts and pale underparts with bold dark brown streaks.

Dimensions Length: 14-20" (36-51 cm); Wngspn: 28" (71 cm)

Habitat Widespread and common in wooded country. Northern populations move south in fall.

Observation Tips Seen mainly by chance.

Range Southeast, Rocky Mountains, Plains, Texas, Eastern Canada, Western Canada, California, Great Lakes, Northwest, New England, Florida, Mid-Atlantic, Southwest

Voice Utters kiek-kiek-kiek call at nest; otherwise silent.

Discussion Medium-sized accipiter. Catches larger prey than does Sharp-shinned. Compared to that species, note relatively longer wings, longer and rounded (not square-ended) tail, and appreciable neck. Plumage differences are little use in flying birds, but note Cooper's more fluid wing action in active flight, and wings held out straighter (not angled forward) when soaring. Seen perched, gentle slope of forehead is more continuous with line of thick bill (steeper forehead in Sharp-shinned). Sexes are similar; female is larger than male.