Common Name: Cooper’s Hawk
Scientific Name: Accipiter cooperii
Description: Cooper’s hawk is a medium-sized hawk and relatively large for an Accipiter. Compared to related species, they tend to have moderate-length wings, a long, often graduated or even wedge-shaped tail and long though moderately thick legs and toes. As adults, they may be a solid blue-gray or brown-gray color above. Adults usually have a well-defined crown of blackish-brown feathers above a paler nape and hindneck offset against their streaked rufous cheeks. Their tail is blue-gray on top and pale underneath, barred with three black bands in a rather even pattern and ending in a rather conspicuous white tip. Juvenile Cooper’s tend to have streaking or washing of tawny on the cheeks, ending in a light nuchal strip, giving them a hooded appearance unlike the capped appearance of adults (some juveniles, unlike adults, may manifest a slim supercilium as well). The crown is brown on juveniles rather than blackish as in adults. The tail is similar to that of the adult but more brownish and sometimes shows an additional fourth band.
Range: Cooper’s hawk’s breeding range extends from southern Canada to northern Mexico. In winter they range regularly throughout the parts of the southern United States where they do not breed, such as all Gulf Coast areas and in south Florida. Wintering Cooper’s hawks are common through essentially all parts of Mexico, becoming less regular around Guatemala and isolated spots of the border of Honduras and Nicaragua, where the species is considered “infrequent but regular” as well as in central and southern Costa Rica and perhaps northern Panama.
Habitat: More so than breeding habitat, wintering habitat seems to be highly opportunistic. They may be found in any environment with some trees, including open woods, parkland and scrub areas.