Cooper's Hawk (Accipitercooperii)

Cooper's hawks belong to a family of hawks known as Accipiters. These hawks prey mostly on other birds. Their long tails act as rudders that allow them to be extremely maneuverable in wooded areas as they hunt birds on the wing. The Cooper's hawk is about the size of a crow. Of its relatives, the sharp-shinned hawk is smaller and the northern goshawk is larger.

Cooper's hawks have recovered partially because they have adapted to urban and suburban environments.

Becky Redenbo took this picture of a Cooper's hawk sitting in the bird bath just outside her window. Cooper's hawks eat birds, and have been known to show up at bird feeders. This one seems to have decided to make itself comfortable. Perhaps it thinks dinner will come to him. Click here for more Cooper's hawk photos.

If a Cooper's Hawk arrives at your feeder, stop bird feeding for a few days and it will move on. Placing bird feeders near shrubs or other cover can also provide protection from predators.

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 Quick Facts about the Cooper's Hawk:

It eats mostly other birds. Cooper's hawks also eat small mammals and reptiles.


The Cooper's hawk is an Illinois wildlife success story. It was recently removed from the Illinois State Endangered Species List.


Similar to that of a crow.

Click here for more Cooper's hawk photographs.

It is sometimes referred to as the "chicken hawk." In fairness, many types of hawks have been dubbed "chicken hawk," including the red-tailed hawk.

Number of young:

Cooper's hawks normally nest in the heavy forest, laying 2-5 eggs. Sometimes they will use an old squirrel or crow's nest.