Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii)
Accipiter: derived from Latin accipere
meaning "to take or seize", referring to the genus' habit of seizing
Chicken Hawk, Big Blue Darter; Spanish - esmerejón de Cooper, gavilán palomero
Class: Aves; Order: Falconiformes; Family: Accipitridae
Key Identification Characters:
Adult: dark blue-gray upper parts, underparts barred with rufous color; tail long with end rounded in flight; wings relatively short and rounded; eyes yellow-orange to red; immature: brownish upperparts with white spots on back, brown streaking on breast; tail as with adult; eyes pale yellow; generally small to medium size, males and females look similar but females often significantly larger than males. Length, 21"; wingspan, 31".
Southern Canada southward to northern Central America.
Mainly medium-sized birds (jays, flickers, up to pheasant size), some mammals (mouse size to ground squirrel size); large insects; rarely reptiles and small fish in drying ponds.
Number of eggs/clutch: range of 3 to 6; normally 4 to 5; Egg: bluish white, unmarked or faintly spotted with pale brown, 1.90" x 1.45" Nesting: about 25-50' above ground in mixed-species forest; platform of interwoven twigs lined with bark chips and occasional green twigs.
Contributor: Scott M. Cutler, Curator of Collections and Exhibits; Curator of Ornithology