Cooper’s Hawk

photo by Phil Swanson

Accipiter cooperii
L 14-20″(36-51 cm) W 29-37″(74-94 cm).

Song or calls:
Listen (NGPC audio)

Rapid “kek kek kek kek kek.”

Description: Distinguished from similar Sharp-shinned Hawk by a rounded, not squared, tail. Also larger than Sharp-shinned. Male is slate blue above, with rust-colored cross-barring below. Female is larger than male, and brown-blue above with rusty bars below. In adult, look for strong contrast between back and crown. Immatures brown above, with brown streaking below.

Food: Diet consists mainly of songbirds, and will occasionally take small mammals.

Habitat: Associated with mature deciduous forests.

Where in Nebraska: Uncommon winter visitor and spring migrant across the state. May be local permanent resident. Becoming a common breeder statewide in towns and woodlands.

Fun Facts: Cooper’s Hawks kill their prey by constriction unlike most hawk species who use biting as an effective killing method. They are often used as pigeon control in major cities.

Cooper's Hawk - photo by Phil Swanson Cooper's Hawk - photo by Phil Swanson
(click image for larger view)