Cooper’s Hawk

: A Stealthy Predator of North America

Basic Description

The Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) is a medium-sized bird of prey that belongs to the family Accipitridae. It measures around 14-20 inches in length, with a wingspan of approximately 27-36 inches. The male birds are smaller than females, and their plumage differs slightly. The adult Cooper’s Hawk has blackish-grey feathers on its back, a reddish-brown breast, and white stripes on its tail. Its eyes are bright red-orange, and it has sharp talons.

Where To Find This Bird

The Cooper’s Hawk is mainly found in North America from southern Canada to northern Mexico. They prefer forested areas or woodland edges but can also be seen in urban parks or gardens where there are trees for nesting and open spaces for hunting.


Cooper’s Hawks inhabit deciduous forests or mixed woodlands near water sources such as rivers or streams due to their preference for hunting prey near wetland ecosystems like swamps or marshes.


Cooper’s Hawks have a diverse diet consisting mainly of small rodents such as squirrels, chipmunks, and rats but also include other prey items that they can catch while flying such as insects, reptiles (snakes), amphibians (frogs), fish (trout), rabbits among others.

Cool Facts:

1) These raptors don’t build nests themselves; they take over old crow nests!

2) Cooper’s hawks’ stealthy nature makes them successful predators because they can swoop down quickly without warning to grab their unsuspecting prey off the ground.

3) They have excellent vision which helps them locate potential meals from afar — up to five times farther than humans can see.

4) Cooper’s hawks are known for their unique hunting style called “fast flight-chasing.” They use their speed and agility to chase prey through the woods or over open areas, which makes them formidable hunters.

5) Despite population declines due to habitat loss and hunting, Cooper’s Hawks remain a common sight in many North American communities. Their adaptability to urban environments means they often nest in trees near houses and hunt small birds that frequent backyard feeders.