Nature Journal
with Photos

          
Cooper's Hawk Identification Tips
(Credit: U. S. Geological Survey)
 
General Information
- Sexes similar, but females much larger
- Medium-sized, broad-winged, long-tailed hawk
- Short, dark, hooked beak
- Long, thick tarsi appear short at rest because they
  are usually covered by belly feathers
- Short, rounded wings
- Very long tail is rounded at tip
- Often flies with several quick wingbeats and a short
  glide, but also soars
- Large angular head projects far beyond wings when
  soaring

Adult
- Red eye
- Black cap
- Blue-gray back and upperwings
- White breast, belly and underwing coverts marked
  by fine, thin, reddish bars
- White undertail coverts
- Tail, blue gray above and pale below, barred with
  black bands
- Flight feathers, blue-gray above and pale below, with
  dark bars

Immature
- Yellow eye
- Brown head with indistinct pale supercilium
- Brown cap, nape, back, and upperwings
- White underparts marked by thin black streaks,
  concentrated on chest
- Tail, brown above and pale below, barred with dark
  bands
- White terminal band

Similar species
Immature Northern Goshawks are similar in shape and patterning to immature Cooper's Hawks, but are larger, with proportionately shorter tails, bulkier bodies and thicker black streaking extending all the way to the undertail coverts.

Sharp-shinned Hawks are typically smaller, with shorter, squared-off tails and shorter heads that do not project as far when flying. Immature Sharp-shinneds have thicker, denser streaking that extends farther down the belly and a thinner terminal band of white. Adults have less well-defined caps. Immature Red-shouldered Hawks have pale crescents in the wing and shorter tails.
 
 
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