Accipiter Cooperii – Cooper’s Hawk

Accipiter cooperii - Cooper's hawk

The Cooper’s hawk, known to be Accipiter cooperii, is a medium-sized hawk found in southern Canada and Mexico. This species is of the Accipiter genus, which is the most diversified of the diurnal raptor genera. The male is smaller than the female in many raptors. That east of the Mississippi tends to be bigger than birds west of it. It’s easy to confuse it with the Sharp-shinned hawk.

Quick Overview: Accipiter Cooperii – Cooper’s Hawk
Body size: Around 14-21 in (36-53 cm) and a weight of 349 g (12.3 oz)
Main colors: Black, Blue-gray, Gray, White
Range: Throughout the United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: All Year (January – December)
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Cooper’s hawk Description

Adult Cooper’s hawks have a dark blackish head with a paler nape. They have a blue-gray back and a tail with black stripes and a white band at the tip. It has a long barred tail and small, rounded wings.

This hawk’s eyes, like other predatory birds, look forward, providing it superb depth perception while hunting and catching prey. The hooked bill is designed to rip prey flesh. Cooper’s hawks have quick wingbeats and can fly through densely forested environments.

Accipiter cooperii - Cooper's hawk
Accipiter cooperii – Cooper’s hawk, Photo by: Shanthanu Bhardwaj


These hawks have a length of 14-21 in (36-53 cm) and a weight of 349 g (12.3 oz). Their wings could range from 27-36 in (69-91 cm).


Cooper’s hawks prey on birds and small animals. They also eat reptiles and amphibians. Cooper’s hawks hunt by hiding and watching for prey. They swoop down and capture their victim when they are unaware of their presence. Red-winged Blackbird, Eastern Chipmunk, and Squirrel are common Cooper’s hawk prey. Their small, rounded wings make them good flyers in thick forests.


Cooper’s hawks like deciduous and mixed woods, as well as open woodland habitats such as woodlots, riparian woodlands, and semiarid woodlands in the southwest.


Diurnal Cooper’s hawks They spend a lot of time poised, watching for passing birds. During the winter, Cooper’s hawks fly south to reproduce. They are a solitary species that only congregate to reproduce.

Accipiter cooperii Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Accipitiformes
  • Family: Accipitridae
  • Genus: Accipiter
  • Species: Accipiter cooperii

Best time of the year to see

In the United States, the best time of year to see these birds is all year round, regardless of the season. This refers to any month of the year between January and December.

Distribution of the Cooper’s hawk in the USA

Nearctic and Neotropical Cooper’s Hawks are native. They are found throughout southern Canada and the United States. They winter in the northern United States and southern Ontario, and in Costa Rica. Cooper’s hawks live year-round in much of the United States.

The Cooper’s hawk can be found in the following states in the United States – Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Accipiter Cooperii – Cooper’s Hawk

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