An Illustration of the Accipiters of North America – The Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, and Northern Goshawk.

by Bryce W. Robinson


Adult Accipiters of North America. 16×20″ gouache on watercolor board. Limited edition prints of this image are available in the shop.

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

And be sure to purchase the following books:


Hawks in Flight By Pete Dunne, David Sibley, and Clay Sutton


Hawks from Every Angle by Jerry Liguori


Also, HawkWatch International’s Raptor ID app is now FREE. Get it wherever you get your apps!