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MBC Dilute Plumage Bald profile photo.
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Monday, February 15, 2021

great information on Accipiter's. (tools for your tool kit) Wing Tips: Sharp-shinned and Cooper's Hawks

Wing Tips: Sharp-shinned and Cooper's Hawks
click link above for more helpful information 

The Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus) and Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) are two closely related birds of prey, and pose an identification challenge that some ornithologists used to consider unsolvable.

These two species belong to the genus Accipiter, which contains about 50 other species worldwide. Only one other accipiter, the Northern Goshawk, is found in the USA and Canada. Accipiters' short, rounded wings and long tails are well-adapted for maneuvers in forested habitats.

In today's post we'll discuss how to differentiate this duo while perched; many of these traits can be used for in-flight ID as well. One of the most important themes in this post is that no field mark is reliable on its own. Thus, let a majority of traits lead you to an identification. If there's no majority, it's better to be uncertain than inaccurate!

(all information is copyrighted to Wring-Tips)

This blog shares strategies to identify North American bird species, especially those found in the northeastern US.

Other topics include bird conservation trials and triumphs, general birding tips, and spotlights on avian life histories.
Wing Tips is written by Tessa Rhinehart.
Cover image: "Wandering Tattler" by Jason Crotty / licensed under CC BY 2.0
The name "Wing Tips" was inspired by Marc Radell, who came up with the phrase during a discussion about identifying broad-winged hawks in flight. Thanks, Marc!

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