Cooper’s Hawk Baby And Juvenile: Everything You Need To Know

Cooper’s Hawk Baby And Juvenile

Birds of prey are one of the most fascinating families of birds to learn about. 

With their sharp eyesight, dangerous talons and beaks, as well as their immense amount of strength, they are prey’s true nightmare. 

Amongst the many well-known birds of prey lies one of the most skillful birds of the world, Cooper’s hawk. 

Named after William Cooper, the scientist responsible for bringing the bird samples into question, these are woodland hawks that tear through tree canopies in chase of other birds.

One of the most vicious of the raptor birds, they do not bite into their prey to kill it but rather use their strong talons to squeeze their victim to death, or drown it. 

They are infamous for also being quite tricky to spot and identify as they have many lookalikes in the predator bird family.

But before they became these big ferociously fascinating birds, they were tiny helpless little creatures, entirely dependent on one another. 

So today we are going to take a look at everything you need to know about baby Cooper’s hawks. Without further ado, let’s get right into it!

What Does A Baby Cooper’s Hawk Look Like?

Just like many other bird babies in the family, cooper’s hawk babies are born featherless, with only their natal down as their primary form of protection.

Natal down is a layer of down feathers that protects these baby hawks. 

Cooper’s hawks are also altricial, meaning that their down feathers develop within a few days of their hatching. 

Their natal down is primarily white in color with streaks of brown and gray spotted throughout their plain white plumage. 

They have a yellowish bill that ends in a darker tip, as well as yellow clawed feet that will grow into the characteristic strong gripping talons in the adults.

Baby Cooper’s Hawk’s Size And Weight

Compared to the giant and majestic beauty of Cooper’s hawk, the baby is just a tiny little thing. 

Baby Cooper’s hawks come in at about an average of 2 – 5 inches in length and weigh only a meager 2 – 3 ounces. 

They are small and featherless, with their fluffy natal down being their primary form of protection at this point. 

It takes about 40 – 50 days for any major size growth difference, as they slowly prepare to leave their parents’ wings and move out into the world to fly and forage for themselves.

What Does A Juvenile Cooper’s Hawk Look Like?

After about 48 days after hatching, the juvenile cooper’s hawk is ready to fly out from its nest and fly around, still staying close to its primary area. 

As opposed to the white and spotted plumage of the babies, the juvenile cooper’s hawk sports a much darker brown shade in the top part. 

This brown coloration is often streaked with different shades from a reddish-brown color to a cinnamon shade, and white mottling can also be seen at the back, in the wing coverts, and mainly in the scapulars. 

As opposed to the more blackish crown in adults, the juveniles have a brown color along with some brownish-orange coloring on the cheeks. 

The bottom part of the juvenile shows much more pale cream coloration when compared to other juveniles who tend to stay in the darker color scheme. 

As opposed to the sleek and compact appearance of the adult cooper’s hawk, the juveniles have been described by many bird lovers as “disheveled” and “untamed”.

What Is A Baby Cooper’s Hawk Called?

A baby cooper’s hawk is referred to as an eyas, which can also be spelled as eyass. This naming is not especially for cooper’s hawks and is seen given to many younglings in the family of birds of prey. 

Another way to call baby cooper’s hawks would be by their developmental stage. 

Babies who have just hatched from the egg are referred to as hatchlings, and while they are living protected under their parents’ wings they are called nestlings. 

Once their nesting development is partially completed, at about 4 – 5 weeks, the bird starts to attempt flight, at which point they are called fledglings.

What Does A Baby Cooper’s Hawk Eat?

Cooper’s hawks are well-known as bold and daring predators, waiting for the exact right moment to pounce on an unsuspecting small bird or mammal before using their talons to capture it. 

But before they are capable of such effective hunting, the babies rely on their parents to get them food. 

Like many other baby birds in the family, baby cooper eat what their parents eat, but in smaller sizes. 

In just about 3 weeks or so, they can tear apart meat themselves. 

They primarily feed on small birds like doves, quails, and sparrows, which are their preferred choice of meal. 

They have also been observed eating small mammals such as rodents, hares, rabbits, and so on. 

In especially arid conditions they feed on insects like lizards and rarer still on amphibians like frogs.

How Many Babies Do They Have In One Year?

In one breeding season, the female cooper’s hawk lays about 3 – 6 eggs in a clutch, within a span of about 2 – 3 days. 

The eggs are a pale sky blue in color which fade to a dirty off-white shade and have a smooth texture. 

The laying of the third egg commences the incubation period, which is mainly undertaken by the female cooper’s hawk, even through the nighttime. 

The males do help put though, mainly after they have foraged and brought home food for the female. 

The males incubate for a brief period of 30 minutes 2 – 3 times a day. Incubation lasts for about 30 days after which the babies hatch out.

When Do Baby Cooper’s Hawks Start Flying?

Baby cooper’s hawks are not capable of flight for about 5 – 6 weeks, as their muscles are only slowly forming, and their natal down must get replaced by their wings and feathers. 

Once they hit the 6 – 7 week mark, they leave the nest to fly around and learn their flight mechanisms, still staying close to home. 

At about 8 weeks, they have the ability to forage for themselves but still rely primarily on their parents for food. 

In total, it takes about 50 – 54 days for the full development of feathers to occur, after which the babies start flying.

What Do Baby Cooper’s Hawks Sound Like?

Typically, baby cooper’s hawks make noise at the 2-day mark after their hatching, though these have no particular rhythm or tone to them, and are a general response to when they are feeling hungry. 

They start out with soft but high-pitched peeping calls which then evolve into high whistling sounds at about 10 days, which are usually emitted to get their parent’s attention. 

Adult Cooper’s hawks have an impressive range of about 40 call variations, which make them one of the most vastly vocal raptors!


So that was everything you needed to know about the babies of this fascinating bird of prey, Cooper’s Hawk. 

We hope you had a fun time exploring the world of this little fellow with us and more importantly, we hope that you learned something new today!

Thank you for reading!

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