Goshawk vs coopers hawk? What is the difference?

When you live in the northern side, especially in North Carolina or Texas, you should see various types of hawks.

Hawks are also known as raptors, which are popular predators. They are known for their sharp eyes and claws. Although they are rare, there are certain seasons that you can see them perching on high structures, including in urban areas.

Cooper’s hawk and goshawk are often mistaken to be the same because of their appearance. Today on the blog, we are going to tackle the difference between these two popular hawks.

All About Goshawk

Northern goshawk are birds of prey that come from the Eagle family. There are 10 subspecies of goshawks, which basically just look very similar to each other with very slight differences. You can find them in North America, Europe, and Asia.

Goshawks live in the forests or in the lowlands. Most goshawks live in the wilds and in the highlands where they can freely hunt their prey without being hunted by other predators in the forests. Note that while goshawks are big, they also have their own phobias from bigger preys like humans, tigers, lions, bears, and bigger snakes.


The upper piece of the body is covered with pale blue dim or earthy colored plumage. Neck, throat, and paunch are light-dark or white-hued. Their breast is made with dark horizontal lines while the back has vertical lines, which even cover the throat. You will notice the goshawk has red-orange eyes with stripes above them.

Goshawks assemble bowl-shaped home-made of twigs, bark, and grass high in the trees. Female lays 1 to 5 somewhat blue-white eggs from April to May. Just female is answerable for the hatching of eggs that endures 35 to 38 days. Male furnishes her with food during that period.

Goshawks are extremely protective of their babies. Females will attach anything or anybody that can be tracked down near the home.

Baby hawks leave their home 34 to 41 days later birth, however, they rely upon their folks until they arrive at the age of 70 to 90 days. Goshawks will reach their maturity at 2 years old to 3 years.

All About The Cooper’s Hawk Bird

Local to the Americas, Cooper’s Hawks are genuinely normal all through their reach. These medium-sized raptors breed from southern Canada the entire way to northern Mexico. A few people stay in their home region all year, yet those in the northern piece of their reach relocate to hotter regions when winter sets in and prey for the most part becomes more earnestly to find.

During migrations, these hawks can reach as far as Honduras, Costa Rica, and Panama.

 cooper's hawk bird

The Cooper’s Hawk is native to the wilds. They can be found in a variety of habitats, such as in the woodlands and small woodlots. Sometimes, you see them in your backyard scavenging for food during drought. Although they don’t usually take food from your feeders, they go directly there when they are starving.

They will also eat small animals and pets. If you live in North America, you should be able to see some cooper’s hawk living near you. You should look out on these raptors in trees.

Goshawk Vs Coopers Hawk: Hawk Size Comparison

Goshawk is basically larger and bigger than cooper’s Hawks. It has a wingspan of 35 to 50 inches, with short and broad wings while the cooper’s hawk only has a 14-19 inches wingspan. The goshawk has a long tail, which helps with maneuvering among the forest when chasing its prey.

The cooper’s hawk is also found in Idaho and they have more population than goshawks. Birds that live in the northern part of the state sometimes migrate to other countries in search of a warmer homage.   However, during the colder winter months, they return to their native home again to begin nesting. You can see them in southern Idaho, which is known as the World Center for Birds of Prey.

Find more information about What Is Idaho’s State Bird?

Goshawk Vs Coopers Hawk: What Do They Eat

Both goshawk and cooper’s hawk are predators. That means, they feed on smaller animals and smaller preys.  The following are some of their common foods for diet.

  • Small mammals
  • Lizards
  • Frogs
  • Insects
  • Fish
  • Baby animals
  • Rodents & rats

If you are trying to domesticate a hawk, you should be aware of their diet. Feeding hawks with the wrong kind of food may cause their demise. Or poorly fed hawks are usually thin and sickly. You should note that hawks are considered an endangered species.

In the first half of the 20th century, the hawk’s population was already in danger as humans try to shoot them on sight. They used to be threats to chickens and game birds. This is also the reason why cooper’s hawks are named “chickenhawk”.

However, birds of prey are important in the ecosystem. Nowadays, you cannot just shoot them without a valid permit. There are sanctions associated with catching hawks for fun or food.

Goshawk Vs Coopers Hawk: Lifespan Comparison

Goshawk vs coopers hawk: How long do raptors live? My raptors have laid eggs, will all of them live?

Life for young raptors can be very difficult. Not all raptors born can live.  Typically, 70 to 80 percent of all young raptors die before they reach adulthood. Some hawks (including goshawk and cooper’s hawk) would only starve. Others are injured as they chase their preys.

On the other hand, cooper’s hawks are ready to breed when they reach 2 years old. Conversely, goshawks can live as long as 7 years. Adults have an 83% annual survival.

If you see hawks flying or perching on high platforms, it is important to not hurt them. Although they are predators, these birds are protected by authorities. Preys are a very important part of the ecosystem because they help control the population of rodents. If you see either a goshawk or cooper’s hawk that is in pain, you can try to give first aid. However, you can always call the bird’s sanctuary to rescue them.

Read more about How Often Do You Feed Baby Chicks?

 hawk size comparison

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