Cooper’s Hawk

Coopers Hawk

Esteban Villarreal, El Rodeo Staff Writer

Cooper’s hawk is a medium sized bird that reach lengths of 14 to 21 inches and have wingspans of 27 to 36 inches. They can weigh up to 1.2 pounds. Cooper’s hawks are native to the North American continent and are normally found from southern Canada to Northern Mexico. The habitats in which Cooper’s hawk can be found in are forests, small woodlots, open woodlands, and mountainous regions.


They tend to be more active early in the morning than in the afternoon. Cooper’s hawks like to roost in conifers and they sleep with their heads tucked in. Female hawks lay from three to five eggs and take care of them. Once they hatch, the female continues to take care of them for the next 14 days while the male goes out and provides food for her and their young.


Cooper’s hawks are members of the genus Accipiter, which are referred to as true hawks and are very agile. They are birds of prey and they eat birds and small mammals like squirrels. Female hawks are one-third larger than the males.


Adult Cooper’s hawks can have a blue/gray or brown/grey back, white underside, and horizontally streaked rufous bars. On their tails, they have three black bands and their heads have a black cap. Juvenile Cooper’s Hawks are mainly dark brown.


French naturalist Charles Lucien Bonaparte formally described the hawk in 1828 near Bordentown, New Jersey. Also in 1828, Charles Bonaparte named the bird after William Cooper, who helped collect the specimens used to describe the species. Cooper’s hawk also has a couple of nicknames, including swift hawk, hen hawk, and striker.