Cooper’s Hawk

Accipiter cooperii

The Cooper’s Hawk is a year-round resident in most of Texas and the United States. It is usually found in wooded areas. But with development, they have found a new niche, the backyard. With the decrease of habitat and increase in bird-feeding by humans, the Cooper’s Hawk has adapted well.

Species information:

Length: 16”
Wingspan: 29-31”
Weight: 1 lb

Plumage: Adults have a dark head, back and wings. The chest has rusty red horizontal barring. The tail is long and alternates dark brown and light gray horizontal stripes. The tip of the tail is white and rounded. Iris changes color with age from light yellow to a dark raspberry red. Immature looks very different. Brown head, back and wings. Chest has vertical brown stripes. Tail similar to adult.

Habitat: Found in woodlands but has adapted to suburban backyards.

Flight: A fast-moving bird with strong wing beats. Normal flight pattern of accipiters is flap-flap-glide, flap-flap-glide. When chasing prey it will dive into bushes or trees without slowing down. Can be seen walking around bushes when prey is attempting to hide.

Vocalization: A loud, fast kek-kek-kek, especially when protecting the nest.

Food: Small birds and mammals.

Nesting: Found in crotch of trees. Made new each year of sticks. They usually lay 4 eggs that are incubated for about 36 days. Young fledge in about 5 weeks.