I have many accipiter posts I'd like to get to, but here is a quick one, and a subject that has been talked about recently. Accipiters will always be tricky, especially Sharp-shinned vs. Cooper's Hawk, since they look so similar. Many Sharpies have very rounded or slightly rounded tails (especially females), and some Cooper's have square-tipped tails for certain reasons. Here are some examples. Also note how some Cooper's (especially males) can appear small-headed and stocky overall in certain poses or instances.
One trait only does not make an accurate accipiter ID, it is a combination of traits, so don't get caught up on a single trait that "distracts" you from the rest of the bird. There is much to say about this group of hawks, so more to come.
Hope this helps...and if anyone has a request on a specific subject regarding raptors to discuss, please feel free to bring it up.
Labels: identification, raptors