Overview Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter Cooperi) is a medium sized bird. The hawk is native to in North America as well as Canada and Northern Mexico. The males of cooper’s hawks tend to be smaller than the females.
Overview (cont.) The Cooper’s Hawk was first described/discovered by a French naturalist named Charles Lucien Bonaparte in 1828. Cooper’s Hawk is a member of the Accipiter Genus. The Hawk was named after William Cooper. Cooper’s Hawks have many other common names such as Big Blue Darter, Chicken Hawk, Mexican Hawk, Quail Hawk, Hen Hawk, Striker and Swift Hawk.
Description The average weight of an adult male ranges from 7.8 to 14 oz and have a length between 14 and 18 inches. The female is larger with a weight of 12 to 25 oz and measure between 17 and 20 inches long. Coopers Hawks have short rounded wings and a relatively long tail. Adults have red eyes and have a black cap, with blue-gray on top and pale underneath barred with black bands.
Description (cont.) Immature (younger) Cooper Hawks have yellow eyes, with a brown cap, blue-gray on top and pale underneath, along with thin black streaks mostly ending at the belly. Cooper’s Hawks have broader chests, larger heads and have more robust features than many other birds.
Habitat and Distribution Breeding for the Cooper’s Hawks range from Canada to Northern Mexico. They’re generally distributed more to the south than other North American Accipiters. They usually tend to migrate in winter times, as some migrate as far south and Panama. The Hawks occur in various types of mixed deciduous forest and open woodlands. Cooper’s Hawks are found in the Indian River Lagoon. They were once adverse to cities and towns, but are now common in urban and suburban areas.
Feedings These birds usually capture their pray while flying through dense vegetation, relying on surprise. Cooper’s Hawks Hunt in dense jungles and just flying through waiting for their prey to show up at a surprise. Typical prey for the Cooper’s Hawk consists of American Robins, other thrushes, Jays, Woodpeckers, European Starlings, Quail, Icterids, Cuckoos, Pigeons and Doves.
Courtship Even though Cooper’s Hawks are Monogamous, they do not mate for life. Pairs tend to breed once a year, and raise one brood per season of breeding. Courtship displays include stylized flights with the wings positioned in a deep arc. During the flight, the male will begin by diving toward the female. A slow speed chase follows involving the male flying around the female exposing his expanded under tail coverts to her. The male raises his wings high above the back and flies in a wide arc with slow rhythmic flapping. Courting usually occurs on bright sunny days in mid morning. After pairing occurs, the male makes a bowing display before beginning to build the nest.
Breeding Their breeding habitats are forested areas. The breeding pair builds a stick nest in large trees. The nests are piles of sticks around 69 cm (27 in) in diameter and 15.2 – 43 cm (6 - 17 In) high with a cup-shaped depression in the middle that is 20.2 cm (8 in). The clutch size is usually 3-5 eggs. The cobalt-blue eggs average about 1.5 – 1.9 in and weigh about.99 oz and 3.5 in long and are completely covered in white.
Communication Cooper’s Hawks communicate using vocalizations and displays. Vocal is usually preferred over display because the denseness of their habitat could prevent displays from being seen at a distance.
Lifespan Cooper’s Hawks have been known to live as long as 12 years in the wild. However, the oldest known living hawk was 20 years and 4 months old.
Status and Conservation Before, Cooper’s Hawks were heavily hunted in purpose of preying on poultry and were called Chicken Hawks. Cooper’s Hawks are now domesticated and are rarely hunted. The American Kestrel, whose populations have experienced a considerable decrease, is one species in which the extensive predation by the recovered Cooper’s Hawk population is a major concern. Scientists and wild life conservations are not worried about the Cooper’s Hawk going extinct.
Fast Facts Cooper's hawk is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List The oldest known Cooper's Hawk was 20 years, 4 months old. Males typically build the nest over a period of about two weeks, with just the slightest help from the female. Cooper’s Hawks sometimes rob nests and also eat chipmunks, hares, mice, squirrels, and bats.