Cooper's Hawks (Accipiter cooperii) are medium-sized, secretive hawks that have short rounded wings and proportionally long tails. Adult Cooper's Hawks have a barred rufous underside. Males have a slate gray back and dark black cap, while females have a browner back. The eyes of an adult Cooper's hawk will get increasingly red as it gets older. Females are about twice the size of males, with females weighing about 530 grams and males weighing about 320 grams.





    Juvenile Cooper's Hawks have a white chest streaked with brown, yellow eyes, and a brown back. 




    Cooper's Hawks eat mainly birds, but will occasionally catch and eat rodents and lizards. In north Florida, their diet includes blue jays, cardinals, mourning doves, ground doves, collared doves, grackles, northern bobwhite quail, cattle egrets, yellow-billed cuckoos, brown-headed cowbirds and a variety of warblers.




    In 1995, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission began a 5-year study of Cooper's Hawks in the Red Hills of North Florida. The main purpose of this study is to learn more about the biology of this raptor, with a secondary goal of assessing the impact of Cooper's Hawk predation on northern bobwhite quail populations. Other information collected includes: data on foraging ecology and strategies, breeding ecology and success, and habitat use of Cooper's Hawks. To obtain this data, radio transmitters are deployed on the hawks so that their movements can be tracked and recorded. Study personnel also locate nests, band chicks, and place video cameras at nests to record behavioral and diet information.      


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