Main Menu

Class Aves
Order Accipitriformes
Family Accipitridae


Accipiter cooperii—Cooper's Hawk // Accipiter gentilis—Northern Goshawk // Accipiter striatus—Sharp-shinned Hawk

Accipiter sp.—Bird HawksDistribution of regional fossil Accipiter sp.

Although often considered woodland hawks, suitable habitat generally is expectable within raptor range of most sites. Their identification, then, offers little in the way of ecological data. Furthermore, accipiters are widespread geographically. All tend to rely heavily on birds as prey.


Sangamon:: Newport Bay Mesa (Jefferson 1991a).

Late Wisconsin:: Charlies Parlor (Harris 1993c).

Literature. Harris 1993c; Jefferson 1991a.


Accipiter cooperii (Bonaparte 1828)—Cooper's HawkRegional Pleistocene distribution of Accipiter cooperi

Accipiter cooperi, photograph by Lee Karney, US Fish and Wildlife ServiceFig. 1. Accipiter cooperii. Photograph by Lee Karney, courtesy of the US Fish & Wildlife Service.

Cooper's Hawk is widespread in our region today. Favored prey seems to be quail and doves (Ligon 1961), though other birds are widely utilized. Ligon mentions specifically flickers as being a favored food, perhaps accounting for the relatively high number of flickers recovered from cave sites.


Wisconsin: Carpinteria (Guthrie 2009).

Mid Wisconsin: McKittrick (Jefferson 1991a).

Mid/Late Wisconsin: Dark Canyon Cave (Howard 1971); Diamond Valley (Springer et al. 2009: cf.); Pit N&W Animal Fair (Harris 1993c); Rancho La Brea (Stock and Harris 1992); U-Bar Cave (Harris 1993c).

Late Wisconsin: Animal Fair 18-20 ka (Harris 1989); Antelope Cave (Reynolds, Reynolds, Bell, and Pitzer 1991); Camel Room (Harris 1993c); Maricopa (Jefferson 1991a); Sandia Cave (Brasso and Emslie 2006); U-Bar Cave (UTEP).

Late Wisconsin/Holocene: Burnet Cave (Wetmore 1932).

Literature. Brasso and Emslie 2006; Guthrie 2009; Harris 1989, 1993c; Howard 1971; Jefferson 1991a; Ligon 1961; Reynolds, Reynolds, Bell, and Pitzer 1991; Springer et al. 2009; Stock and Harris 1992; Wetmore 1932.


Accipiter gentilis (Linnaeus 1758)—Northern GoshawkRegional distribution of Pleistocene Accipiter gentilis


Wisconsin: Carpinteria (Guthrie 2009).

Mid/Late Wisconsin: Rancho La Brea (Jefferson 1991a).

Literature. Guthrie 2009; Jefferson 1991a.


Accipiter striatus Vieillot 1808—Sharp-shinned HawkDistribution of regional fossil Accipiter striatus

Accipiter striatus, photograph by Donna Dewhurst, US Fish and Wildlife ServiceFig. 1. Accipiter striatus. Photograph by Donna Dewhurst, courtesy of the US Fish & Wildlife Service.

The Sharp-shinned Hawk is a smaller version of Cooper's Hawk and, fittingly, feeds mostly on small birds. It is widespread within our region today.


?Late Irvingtonian/Rancholabrean: Emery Borrow Pit (Jefferson 1991a).

Wisconsin: Carpinteria (Guthrie 2009).

Early/Early-Mid Wisconsin: Rm Vanishing Floor (Harris 1993c: cf.).

Mid/Late Wisconsin: Rancho La Brea (Stock and Harris 1992).

Mid Wisconsin: Pendejo Cave (Harris 2003).

Mid Wisconsin-Holocene: Shelter Cave (Howard and Miller 1933).

Late Wisconsin: Sandia Cave (Brasso and Emslie 2006)

Late Wisconsin/Holocene: Stanton's Cave (Rea and Hargrave 1984).

Literature. Brasso and Emslie 2006; Guthrie 2009; Harris 1993c, 2003; Howard and Miller 1933; Jefferson 1991a; Rea and Hargrave 1984; Stock and Harris 1992.


Last Update: 16 Mar 2014