An Illustration of the Accipiters of North America – The Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, and Northern Goshawk.
by Bryce W. Robinson
I continue to illustrate raptors in flight with the genus Accipiter. Accipiter is a rather diverse genus worldwide, with some beautiful variation from large to small. I look forward to the opportunity of illustrating each species sometime down the road. For now, it was a pleasure to create an image of the three Accipiters of North America – the Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus), Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperi), and Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis). All have rather broad wings and a long tail, but subtle differences between each help create their own unique shape. Although each are unique, correctly identifying an accipiter in the field is a challenge. A focus on multiple characteristics of an in-flight bird apart from plumage details (that are often difficult to see) will allow a correct identification. These characteristics include flight style, wing shape, head projection, tail shape at base and at tip, and others.
For more information on how to identify North America’s Accipiters, explore Jerry Liguori’s articles on the HawkWatch International Blog
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