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Goshawk / Cooper's Hawk

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Hi, wondering if anyone has any thoughts on this bird. It seemed to be about the size of a Red-shouldered, and I think I'd normally just call it a large Cooper's, but when it banked I looked for and thought I saw the lighter yellow / brown bars on the greater coverts (not sure what else could have tricked me into thinking I saw that).



My thoughts on the arguments for Goshawk / Cooper's, respectively (feel free to skip this and just post your own impressions).


Moderately for -

  • Fairly large, small-headed, broad-shouldered.
  • If I saw it accurately, the "tawny" wingbars.

Slightly for -

  • Orangeish tint to eyes.
  • Some sort of markings below the tail, possibly the top of the undertail coverts (barely noticeable in the photos).
  • Long secondaries ending at tarsus.
  • Fairly thick / flared supercilium (in at least a few of the photos).

Possibly for (?)

  • Barely noticeable (third photo) white outline below the first two dark tail bands.
  • Somewhat tawny colors on the sides.
  • Not highly contrasting (or thick) dark bands on the tail.
  • Wavy pattern on tail (clear "M")--not sure how useful that is on a folded tail.
  • Large feet, apparently thick tarsus (at least at joint of foot). Large Cooper's look like they can have pretty large feet / thick tarsi too though.


Strongly for -

  • Much more common.

Slightly for -

  • Only moderately thick dark spotting on the front (would be on the low end for a Goshawk).
  • Only moderately prominent supercilium; again, on the low end for a Goshawk. (However, looks like Goshawk's sometime don't have much of one: https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/92412731)

Many thanks,

Edited by tedsandyman
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Thanks everyone. It did look like a Cooper's in many ways, but I thought I had seen tawny wingbars. Not sure what I might have actually been seeing. The streaking did look pretty fine, but, on the other hand, I have seen some photos that don't seem to have a lot, such as Fig 1 in this https://www.swarovskioptik.com/birding/blog/The_three_plumages_of_the_Northern_Goshawk_by_Dick_Forsman.

Nice about the pointed retrices. That's an interesting field mark I didn't know about. It can be variable / subtle though, if this bird reported is accurate https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/107195571 Based on the field marks mentioned by folks above, it would seem to lean more towards Cooper's, though it has a lot more buff base color and a bolder superciulium. Maybe I'm seeing something wrong.

Edited by tedsandyman
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