Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii)


French: Épervier de Cooper German: Rundschwanzsperber Spanish: Gavilán de Cooper

Falco cooperii


, 1828,

Bordentown, New Jersey, USA


Traditionally considered to form a species-group with A. gundlachi and A. bicolor; this treatment supported by recent phylogenetic analyses, which indicated that this species and A. gundlachi are genetically very close relatives, with A. bicolor closely related to this pair#R. Monotypic.


S Canada and most of USA S to NW Mexico. Winters from N USA to Central America as far S as Costa Rica, occasionally S to Colombia.

Descriptive notes

37–47 cm; male 276–388 g (breeding), female 461–701 g (breeding); wingspan 64–87 cm. Near N edge of breeding range, size varies from W to E, with... read more


Most common call a series of nasal "cak" notes given by both sexes during courtship or as alarm... read more


Breeds in deciduous, coniferous and mixed forests, often with dense canopy cover. Deciduous... read more

Food and feeding

Overall, feeds primarily on medium-sized birds, but small mammals important in some areas, and reptiles occasionally taken. Proportion of... read more


Eggs in first clutches normally laid from early Apr–late May; slightly earlier at S limits, e.g. Florida, Texas and N Mexico. Pairs... read more


Mostly migratory in N third of range, but small numbers can be found in winter as far N as species... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Widespread and common; perhaps one of commonest hawks in W USA. Seriously affected by organochlorines in 1940s and 1950s,... read more

Recommended citation

White, C.M., Boesman, P. & Marks, J.S. (2020). Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 27 February 2020).