Common Name

Scientific Name


Photo by Jim Parrish
Photo Copyright Jim Parrish

Cooper's hawk, Accipiter cooperii, breeds from southern Canada to northern Mexico, and winters from extreme southern Canada to Central America. The species is fairly common statewide in Utah (in appropriate habitat) throughout the year. Cooper's hawk prefers woodland areas and riparian zones. Though populations of this hawk were once declining, they have recently stabilized, and are even increasing in some areas.

Breeding occurs in the spring. The male builds the nest in a tree, usually about 18 to 60 feet above the ground, and guards the nesting area from other birds. The female lays and incubates a single clutch of four or five eggs. During incubation and after the eggs have hatched, the male brings food to nest. The young can fly at about one month of age, but they are still dependent on their parents for food until they are about two months old.

Cooper's hawk eats primarily other birds, such as quail and starlings, but small mammals, reptiles, and amphibians are also consumed.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.