The tail of the Cooper's Hawk is rounded, while the Sharp-shinned Hawk has a square tip.
In relaxed flight or gliding, the Cooper's Hawks hold their wings out rather straight, with the head and neck projecting far in front of the straight leading edge of the wing--like a large flying cross. Contrariwise, the Sharp-shinned Hawk holds its wings forward at the wrist. The wrists then project forward nearly as far as the head on a short neck.
In the (not-very-good) chase photo below the Cooper's Hawk is flapping rapidly and has its wings extended forward, but the Sharp-shinned Hawk has the typical flight profile.
|Female Cooper's Hawk attacking male Sharp-shinned Hawk. Escondido, California. May 8, 2016. Greg Gillson.|