Cooper's Hawk
 Photo Cooper's Hawk Photo Cooper's Hawk Photo
Cooper's Hawk Photo

General description.

The Cooper's Hawk, classically known as the "Chicken Hawk," is larger than its relative the Sharp-shinned Hawk. Measuring approximately 14-20", the Cooper's Hawk can be identified by its slate-blue upperparts and reddish barred underparts. Juveniles have more brownish upperparts with a brown-streaked belly. Distinct to the Cooper's Hawk are short rounded wings and a long, rounded tail that has dark bars and a wide white tip. The eyes of the Cooper's Hawk vary from yellow (juvenile) to red (adult). Female Cooper's Hawks are larger than the males. Named after the first individual to collect and identify the bird, William Cooper, this predator primarily feeds on small mammals and other birds by means of ambush or low-flight pattern to snatch prey into its talons. Colloquially, the name "Chicken Hawk" arose from the aerial menace the Cooper's Hawk presented to small poultry farmers. The Cooper's Hawk diet is more varied than the nickname implies.

Female appearance.

Larger than males.

Juvenile appearance.

Brownish upper body, whitish belly with brown bars.

Flight pattern.

Direct and circling.

Breeding habits.


Calls or song.

kac-kac-kac or kuck-kuck-kuck-kuck

Population and distribution.

Uncommon to rare.

Nesting habits.

The Cooper's Hawk nests in trees 20-25 feet high and lays 4-5 bluish white eggs in April.

Similar birds:

Northern Harrier Photo Northern Harrier
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