40 Birds of Prey Discovered within the USA! (2023)


What sorts of birds of prey can you discover in the US?

common birds of prey and common raptors

This query is frequent, each for birders and non-birders alike. Raptors are fashionable animals that are likely to catch folks’s curiosity greater than most different species. Fortunately, there are a lot of totally different species in all types of habitats.

Right here is how the under record is organized. Click on the hyperlink to leap straight to that part!


#1. Crimson-tailed Hawk

large birds in north america

  • Size: 18-26 in / 45-65 cm
  • Weight: 1.5-3.5 lbs. / 700-1600 g
  • Wingspan: 43-55 in / 110-140 cm

Crimson-tailed Hawks are most likely the kind of hawk that persons are most acquainted with. These birds of prey are sometimes seen in the US on drives within the countryside, both hovering within the sky or perched on a fence publish.

The plumage shade of Crimson-tailed Hawks might be something from almost white to just about black, so coloration is just not a dependable indicator. One of the best ways to determine them is by in search of their attribute crimson tail. 🙂 

Crimson-tailed Hawk Vary Map

Red-tailed Hawk Range Map

These hawks are extremely adaptable, and there’s no actual description of their most well-liked habitats as a result of they appear to be snug in all places. I’ve seen Crimson-tailed Hawks backpacking within the deep wilderness to city cities to my very own suburban yard! Decide a habitat, similar to pastures, parks, deserts, roadsides, rainforests, woodlands, fields, or scrublands, and also you’ll discover them thriving.

Crimson-tailed Hawks have spectacular calls which might be simply recognized. Hear under to those intimidating sounds under.

#2. Sharp-shinned Hawk

Types of birds of prey found in United States

  • Size: 9-13.5 inches / 23-37 cm
  • Weight: 3-8 oz / 82-220 g
  • Wingspan: 16.5-26.5 inches / 42-68 cm

Sharp-shinned Hawks are one of many smallest birds of prey in the US.

They’re extremely athletic and acrobatic. It’s frequent to see these raptors zipping by the woods or by your fowl feeders in a blur of movement!

To determine these birds, search for bars of orange on their higher chest that fade in the direction of the stomach and blue-gray again and wings. When flying, their wings are comparatively brief and rounded however with a protracted tail. Females are significantly greater than males.

Sharp-shinned Hawk Vary Map

Sharp-shinned Hawk Range Map

These raptors are frequent in forested areas in the US. They’re most frequently seen round fowl feeders, searching and preying on the songbirds that come to go to. These raptors are ambush predators, sitting patiently after which dashing out from cowl at excessive pace to chase birds, which make up 90% of their weight loss program.

One option to confirm you’ve gotten seen a Sharp-shinned Hawk is to pay attention for his or her sounds. People give a high-pitched shrill “kik-kik-kik,” which is often repeated a number of instances.

#3. Cooper’s Hawk

large birds in north america

  • Size: 13.5-20 in / 35-50 cm
  • Weight: 8-24 oz / 220-680 g
  • Wingspan: 24.5-35.5 in / 62-90 cm

These giant raptors are generally present in North America within the woods or on the sting of fields. Cooper’s Hawks are recognized for his or her flying agility. I see them typically at my home in high-speed chases by the cover, going after their prey.

Cooper’s Hawk Vary Map

Cooper's Hawk Range Map

Due to their unimaginable flying talents, these hawks primarily eat songbirds and are frequent in backyards round fowl feeders. At my feeding station, I’ve noticed these hawks preying on Crimson-winged Blackbirds, European Starlings, and Mourning Doves. 

The most typical sound a Cooper’s Hawk emits is an alarm name that feels like “kuck, kuck, kuc” or “cak-cak-cak.”

Visually, a Cooper’s Hawk seems extremely much like the Sharp-shinned Hawk. Their steely blue-gray look is sort of equivalent to the Sharp-shinned hawk, proper right down to the little black cap that each put on and the rufous coloured chest.

The BEST option to inform these hawks aside is to take a look at the scale distinction. Cooper’s are bigger than Sharp-shinneds. But when they’re airborne, good luck determining which one you might be observing!

cooper vs sharp shinned hawk - types of hawks in the united states

#4. Northern Goshawk

species of hawks

  • Size: 16-27 in / 41-69 cm
  • Weight: 22-50 oz / 630-1400 g
  • Wingspan: 35-50 in / 89-127 cm

Northern Goshawks are secretive birds which might be onerous to see, as these birds of prey desire residing in giant forests away from civilization. Many individuals mistakenly suppose they’ve seen one of their yard when it was only a Cooper’s Hawk, which seems comparable.

However look intently, and you will notice a dark-colored head that’s often paired with deep crimson eyes, which makes the Northern Goshawk onerous to mistake. The underbody is usually a bluish-white to mild grey with barring. The higher physique is blue-gray and even brown with sure morphs.

Northern Goshawk Vary Map

Northern Goshawk Range Map

These raptors are widespread in North America however are onerous to see, particularly within the suburbs and cities. Some particular person birds are short-term migrants throughout colder months, heading south till ample meals might be discovered. Different birds keep in the identical place all 12 months.

Opportunistic and fierce hunters, Northern Goshawks eat all kinds of meals. The record consists of bugs, mammals, birds, and reptiles.

Hear for a harsh “ca-ca-ca” sound. Because it calls, they flip their head backward and forward slowly, which provides the vocal impact of a ventriloquist.

#5. Northern Harrier

northern harrier

Northern Harriers are some of the distinctive birds of prey you’ll find within the USA!

First, most hawks depend on their unimaginable eyesight to seek out and seize prey. However Northern Harriers additionally use their listening to to seek out meals, much like owls. Even their disc-shaped face resembles an owl. 🙂

Northern Harrier Vary Map

The perfect locations to discover a Northern Harrier are open grasslands, fields, or marshes. Search for a slim, long-tailed raptor that flies low and has a white rump. Watch an instance under!

#6. Crimson-shouldered Hawk

large birds in north america

  • Size: 15-19 in / 38-48 cm
  • Weight: 1.1-1.9 lbs. / 500-860 g
  • Wingspan: 38-42 in / 96-107 cm

Distinctly marked, Crimson-shouldered Hawks have a barred rufous chest, largely white underwings, a strongly banded tail, and, in fact, crimson shoulders which might be seen when perched.

Crimson-shouldered Hawks are primarily forest dwellers. Their favourite locations are woods with an open higher cover since this additional house permits them to hunt extra effectively. These raptors are additionally frequent in suburban areas the place homes have been blended into woodlands.

I see Crimson-shouldered Hawks incessantly, particularly in winter, searching in my yard for squirrels.

Crimson-shouldered Hawk Vary Map

Red-shouldered Hawk Range Map

Talking of meals, these hawks primarily eat small mammals however will feast on snakes, lizards, and amphibians when out there. When searching, these raptors drop onto their prey instantly from overhead, making their searching model distinctive.

You possibly can see this habits under, as a Crimson-shouldered Hawk tries to catch a squirrel in my yard! Don’t fear; the hawk is unsuccessful.

Crimson-shouldered Hawk searching in my yard!

#7. Broad-winged Hawk

United States birds of prey species

  • Size: 13.5-17.5 inches / 34-44 cm
  • Weight: 16 oz / 450 g
  • Wingspan: 33 inches / 84 cm

The our bodies of Broad-winged Hawks are brief and stocky, which makes them completely tailored to life within the forest. These birds of prey reside in the US and are pretty frequent, however they aren’t typically seen as a result of they like spending their time within the deep woods away from people.

Broad-winged Hawk Vary Map

Broad-winged Hawk Range Map

Whereas these raptors spend their summers right here in the US, they fly south for the winters to Central America and South America. Broad-winged Hawks are most likely greatest recognized for his or her epic migrations every fall.

It’s estimated that the typical fowl travels over 4,000 miles (6,400 km) whole, and that’s simply ONE WAY, and so they have to finish this journey twice per 12 months.

These long-distance flyers typically journey south collectively, hovering on air currents by the 1000’s! Getting the possibility to observe a “kettle” of Broad Winged Hawks is genuinely awe-inspiring, as you may see within the video above!

#8. Ferruginous Hawk

ferruginous hawks

  • Size: 20-27 in / 51-69 cm
  • Weight: 2-5 lbs / 900-2270 g
  • Wingspan: 47-60 in / 1.2-1.5 m

Ferruginous Hawks are lovely raptors that reside within the open deserts and prairies of the West. They’re the most important hawks in North America and have lengthy, broad wings and a large grey, rusty, or white tail.

These birds of prey have two shade varieties you could observe.

  • The mild morph birds have a rusty brown (ferruginous) again and pale underparts.
  • The darkish morph people are darkish brown and chestnut-colored on each their again, chest, and stomach. Darkish morph birds are a lot rarer to see than mild ones.

Ferruginous Hawk Vary Map

Ferruginous Hawk Range Map

Considerably social, Ferruginous Hawks might roost in teams throughout winter, which may include between 6-12 people. Mated pairs appear to be largely monogamous and are extremely adaptable nesters. For instance, these hawks will use bushes, rock outcrops, ledges, haystacks, nest platforms, energy poles, and the bottom for nests.

Their alarm name feels like “kree” or “kaah” and is often given when defending territory or frightened. Some folks suppose it sounds much like a gull.

#9. Swainson’s Hawk

swainsons hawk

  • Size: 18-22 inches / 46-56 cm
  • Weight: 24-48 oz / 680-1360 g
  • Wingspan: 46-54 inches / 117-137 cm

Swainson’s Hawks are raptors of the west and may typically be noticed hovering or perched on fence posts, phone poles, or bushes in open areas.

These birds of prey arrive every April in the US and spend their summers breeding and elevating their younger right here. In the direction of the tip of summer time, they start a LONG distance journey to Argentina!

Should you’re protecting rating, that’s round 6,000 miles (9,600 km) a technique and takes as much as two months. And bear in mind, they make this journey twice per 12 months.

Swainson’s Hawk Vary Map

Swainson's Hawk Range Map

As they’re migrating, Swainson’s Hawks typically type giant “kettles,” the place they be a part of with different species, similar to Broad-winged Hawks and Turkey Vultures. As they catch wind from the north and rise with the thermals, utilizing them to preserve power, it’s potential to see THOUSANDS of raptors hovering collectively directly, which resembles an precise river of birds.

The decision of the Swainson’s Hawk is a harsh alarm name that feels like “kreeeeer,” which regularly lasts 2-3 seconds.

#10. Tough Legged Hawk

rough legged hawk

  • Size: 18.5-23.5 inches / 46-59 cm
  • Weight: 25-49 oz / 715-1400 gm
  • Wingspan: 52-54 inches / 132-138 cm

Tough-legged Hawks spend their summers residing and breeding on the Arctic tundra. You possibly can solely see these giant raptors within the continental United States through the winter after they migrate south. Not like most hawks, this species has feathers all the way in which right down to their ft, which helps maintain them heat within the chilly environments they select to reside.

Tough-legged Hawk Vary Map

Rough-legged Hawk Range Map

Search for these chunky, giant raptors in open areas. They’ve a singular searching model the place they hover whereas dealing with the wind, in search of meals. Actually, they’re one of many few birds of prey that actually hovers in place.

These raptors are sometimes silent, besides they make a mewing sound close to the nest. (Hear under!)

#11. Osprey


  • Size: 20-25.5 inches / 50-65 cm
  • Weight: 3-4.4 lb. / 1.4-2 kg
  • Wingspan: 59-71 inches / 150-180 cm

The very first thing you could learn about Ospreys is they’re NOT hawks! They don’t seem to be eagles both and, scientifically talking, have been given their very own Household (Pandionidae) and Genus (Pandion), separate from all different birds of prey.

Although Ospreys are usually not hawks, they actually look much like one. These raptors have additionally been given nicknames, similar to Sea Hawk, River Hawk, and Fish Hawk, which trace on the affiliation between an Osprey and a hawk.

Osprey Vary Map

Osprey Range Map

Once you consider an Osprey, it is best to consider fish as a result of that’s what these birds eat 99% of the time. Due to their specialised weight loss program, you’ll virtually all the time discover these birds of prey residing, breeding, and elevating their younger round water in the US.

Hear for Ospreys subsequent time you might be round a big physique of water. Their alarm name is a collection of brief, high-pitched whistles that descend in pitch. The noise has been in comparison with a teapot taken off a range.


#12. Nice Horned Owl

large birds in north america

  • Size: 17-25 in (43 – 64 cm)
  • Weight: 2.5 to 4 lbs (1134 – 1814 g)
  • Wingspan: 3 – 5 ft (91-153 cm)

Nice Horned Owls are frequent birds of prey in the US.

Actually, these raptors can really be discovered virtually wherever in North America, from the Arctic to the tropics. Its habitat is virtually limitless so long as there are bushes and rocky nesting websites out there. It’s onerous to discover a fowl that may adapt higher than a Nice Horned Owl.

Nice Horned Owl Vary Map

great horned owl range map

These owls are giant and look fierce! To determine them, search for their lengthy tufts of feathers that resemble ears on their head.

Additionally, take a look at their intimidating eyes. I do know I’d not need to have a staring contest with one!

Each sexes hoot, however males are lower-pitched than females. Males give territorial calls that may be heard just a few miles away at night time. I don’t suppose there’s one other owl species that does hooting higher than a Nice Horned Owl!

#13. Barred Owl

barred owl

  • Size: 16–25 in (40–63 cm)
  • Weight: 1–2.75 lbs (500–1250 g)
  • Wingspan: 38–49 in (96–125 cm)

Barred Owls are a typical raptor present in the US. The identify “barred” derives from the horizontal stripes of alternating mild brown and darkish brown on the wings, again, and tail.

Barred Owls are the kind of owl I’ve noticed probably the most within the wild. They’re inquisitive and can typically keep and watch as you stroll previous them. Even when they get nervous as you strategy, they sometimes fly off to a different close by tree to proceed observing.

Barred Owl Vary Map

barred owl range map

Barred Owls depend on mice and different small rodents however eat virtually something made from meat! They’ll readily seize rats, rabbits, bats, squirrels, moles, minks, weasels, opossums, a wide range of birds, frogs, snakes, fish, and turtles, and can even hunt round your nightly campfire to catch some candy, juicy bugs.

And talking of classical noises, their hoots are the traditional sounds featured in motion pictures and scary Halloween tales. It’s straightforward to acknowledge their name because it feels like they’re asking, “Who cooks for you.” Barred Owls will hold forth throughout daylight, too, and so they mate for all times.

#14. Lengthy-eared Owl

long eared owl

  • Size: 31 and 40 cm (12 and 16 in)
  • Weight: 288 g – 327 g (10.2 oz – 11.5 oz)
  • Wingspan: 86 to 102 cm (34 in to 40 in)

Lengthy-eared Owls are also called the Northern Lengthy-Eared Owl, Lesser Horned Owl, or Cat Owl due to their catlike facial options.

They’re secretive and roost in very dense foliage. Mixed with their glorious camouflage, these birds of prey are EXTREMELY onerous to identify in the US!

As you may see, these owls get their identify from the lengthy tufts of feathers on their heads. These ear tufts resemble exclamation factors, so Lengthy-eared Owls typically appear to be they’ve a shocked look on their face.

Lengthy-eared Owl Vary Map

long eared owl range map

Amongst owls, these guys are distinctive by being fairly sociable. They’re recognized to reside in clusters and even share roosts!

Since Lengthy-eared Owls might be extremely onerous to see, the easiest way to find them is to pay attention! In the course of the mating season, males are fairly talkative. Their typical name is repeated wherever from 10 to 200 instances and feels like a low “hoo,” evenly spaced each few seconds.

#15. Japanese Screech-Owl

types of owls in north america

  • Size: 6.3– 9.8 in (16–25 cm)
  • Weight: 4.2–8.6 oz. (120–244 g)
  • Wingspan: 18–24 in (46–61 cm)

Screech-owls might remind you {of professional} wrestlers since they’re brief, stocky, and haven’t any necks!

These owls can both be gray or crimson, with a few third of all people being crimson.  

These small raptors are present in wooded areas in the US. They don’t appear to thoughts folks an excessive amount of as they’re snug nesting on high of streetlamps, subsequent to busy roadways/highways, or inside areas in populated buildings.

Japanese Screech-owl Vary Map

eastern screech-owl range map

Japanese Screech-owls make a wide range of hoots, calls, and songs, however their hottest is an even-pitched trill, typically known as a tremolo. The tremolo is utilized by pairs to maintain in touch with one another and lasts between 3 to six seconds. I feel this tremolo name sounds rather a lot like mating toads, and I generally get the 2 confused!

#16. Western Screech-Owl

types of owls in north america

  • Size: 7.5–10 inches (19–28 cm)
  • Weight: 3.5–11 oz. (100–300 grams)
  • Wingspan: 22–24 inches (55–62 cm)

As soon as upon a time, Western Screech-owls have been considered the identical fowl because the Japanese Screech-owl, however analysis has decided that they’re two distinct species.

Western Screech-owls might be present in forests, however you’ll additionally discover them in suburban parkland, deserts, farm fields, and any fundamental shrubland. They’re a comparatively frequent fowl of prey within the western United States.

Western Screech-owl Vary Map

western screech-owl range map

The first meals of a Western Screech-owl embrace rats, mice, and birds. However they’re opportunistic hunters and also will eat fish, amphibians, and invertebrates, similar to crayfish, bugs, earthworms, and slugs.

Western Screech-owl calls are usually not “screechy,” because the identify suggests. The most typical sound is a fairly quiet, nice trill (“hoo-hoo-hoo” or “cr-r-oo-oo-oo”), which hastens on the finish however maintains a relentless pitch.

#17. Snowy Owl

common owls in north america

  • Size: 20.7–25.2 inches (52.5–64 cm)
  • Weight: 3.2–4 lb. (1,465–1,800 gram)
  • Wingspan: 48–60 inches (1.2–1.5 meters)

Snowy Owls get my vote for probably the most lovely raptor in the US!

Their gorgeous white plumage stops virtually everybody of their tracks, each birders and non-birders alike! Snowy Owls are largely white, however they do have horizontal darkish strains throughout their our bodies besides the face and breast. Apparently, people appear to get whiter with age.

Snowy Owl Vary Map

snowy owl range map

Snowy Owls migrate with the altering seasons. In the course of the summer time, they mate and breed in arctic tundra. However when the winter arrives, these birds come south.

You by no means understand how far south Snowy Owls will journey. Most winters, Snowy Owls solely seem as far down because the northern USA. However some years, there may be an “irruption” of Snowy Owls, and plenty of extra birds than regular migrate south.

When defending their territory or trying to find a mate, males make a loud “hoo, hoo.” This hoot is so loud that it may be heard as much as 7 miles away on the tundra! Females not often hoot, however different noises (for each sexes) embrace cackles, shrieks, hissing, and invoice snapping.

#18. Nice Grey Owl

great gray owl

  • Size: 24 – 33 in (61–84 cm)
  • Weight: 1.5 – 4 lb (580–1,900 g)
  • Wingspan: 5 ft (1.5 m)

Nice Grey Owls are the most important owl in the US!

Should you’re fortunate sufficient to see one, they’re gorgeous raptors. Many individuals suppose they seem like they’re sporting a gray go well with with a bowtie round its neck!

These owls cowl a number of territory of their vary, however they like to reside in a forest close to a clearing. It’s instrumental within the wintertime, as they want a number of space for listening to rodents operating beneath the snow to allow them to crash by and catch lunch! As a result of they’re so massive, they require a number of meals, consuming as much as 7 rodents each day.

Nice Grey Owl Vary Map

great gray owl range map

Gray Grey Owls NEVER construct nests. They simply use those that different massive birds made. Speak about being environment friendly! Nevertheless, as soon as they declare a used nest, these owls will defend it courageously, even towards black bears!

Their name in all fairness distinctive, daring, and deep, sounding like “whooooo, woo, woo, woo. In addition they have a gentle double hoot used when offering meals to their infants or defending a territory.

#19. American Barn Owl

barn owl

Barn Owls (aka Church Owl, Ghost Owl, and Monkey-faced Owl) have a heart-shaped face that’s sandy-colored with a darkish brown edge. Apparently, the form of an owl’s face steers sound to their ears, which helps make them environment friendly hunters.

Their listening to is so good that they will find small animals beneath dense brush or snow with ease, and so they even hunt bats!

Barn Owl Vary Map

barn owl range map

Barn Owls are non-migratory and have a tendency to inhabit deserted barns (therefore the identify). Although severely endangered in lots of elements of their vary, farmers love them as a result of they maintain surrounding property pretty rodent-free, defending different animals from the illnesses that mice and rats carry.

They don’t “hoot” within the classical trend of different owls. Their distinctive screechy sound is way extra harking back to a red-tailed hawk. When exhibiting off for a feminine, males generally clap their wings collectively a few instances whereas flying.

#20. Burrowing Owl

burrowing owl

  • Size: 7.5–11.0 in (19–28 cm)
  • Weight: 5–8.5 oz. (147–240 g)
  • Wingspan: 20–24 inch (51–61 cm)

Not like different birds of prey that spend their time in bushes, Burrowing Owls reside underground!

They both excavate their properties themselves or, fairly incessantly, take over underground shelters from squirrels or prairie canine. These underground dens present a number of house to assemble meals. They’ve been recognized to have lots of of mice in storage in case of a meals scarcity!

Burrowing Owls have comparatively lengthy legs since they spend a number of time navigating on the bottom.

Burrowing Owl Vary Map

burrowing owl range map

Whereas Burrowing Owls could make all kinds of sounds, they aren’t particularly vocal. The most typical is a two-syllable that feels like “who-who” or “coo-coo-roo,” which is primarily made by males throughout mating and defending territories.

#21. Northern Noticed-whet Owl

northern saw whet owl

  • Size: 6.5–9 inches (17–23 cm)
  • Weight: 1.9–5.3 oz. (54–151 grams)
  • Wingspan: 16.5–22.2 inches (42–56.3 cm)

This species is likely one of the smallest raptors in the US, and they’re cute as a button. Northern Noticed-whet Owls are sometimes coloured in pale browns and tans.

Their favourite meals are mice, voles, and shrews. However these owls will complement their weight loss program with small birds, bugs, and invertebrates when essential.

Northern Noticed-whet Owl Vary Map

northern saw-whet owl range map

Northern Noticed-whet Owls desire dense coniferous or blended hardwood forests with a river close by. Due to their want for mature bushes, their numbers have been declining.

These owls get their identify from the sound they make when alarmed, which resembles the whetting (sharpening) of a noticed. However their commonest name occurs through the breeding season. It feels like a “too-too-too” emitted at about two notes per second.

#22. Northern Pygmy-Owl

northern pygmy owl

  • Size: 6.5 inches (16 cm)
  • Weight: 2.2-2.5 ounces (62–72 g)
  • Wingspan: 15 inches (38 cm)

The Northern Pygmy-Owl is a small, diurnal (daytime) fowl. Its chest is white with vertical black stripes, whereas the rest is medium to darkish brown with spots. Search for two false eyes on the again of the pinnacle to dissuade assaults from behind.

These birds of prey usually desire open coniferous forests or blended forests in the US at greater altitudes, primarily pine with just a few deciduous bushes.

Northern Pygmy-Owl Vary Map

northern pygmy owl range map

The fowl’s name is fairly plain. It sounds rather a lot like a one-note tin whistle (“too-too-too”)!

However don’t let the unimpressive hoots idiot you as a result of the Northern Pygmy-Owl is a robust little raptor. It’s going to tackle birds which might be greater than twice its measurement. Consider it or not, it has even been recognized to feast on chickens!

#23. Flammulated Owl

flammulated owl

  • Size: 6 inches (15 cm)
  • Weight: 1.8–2.3 oz. (50–65 grams)
  • Wingspan: 14 inches (36 cm)

A fowl is named “flammulated” when it has flame-shaped markings. Wanting intently on the Flammulated Owl, you may see the place it will get its identify. The feathering seems like an ash-covered log in a campfire the place flecks of ember present by.

It’s a phenomenal coloration, however it additionally makes this small raptor notably onerous to identify within the western United States.

Flammulated Owl Vary Map

flammulated owl range map

Flammulated Owls reside on the high of the forest, particularly in coniferous forests. They will even nest in deciduous forests so long as there are some conifers as a part of the combination.

Due to their small measurement, Flammulated Owls hunt virtually solely for bugs (butterflies, moths, crickets, and beetles) and invertebrates. However often, small rodents are taken and eaten.

Flammulated Owls have a really giant windpipe. This adaptation permits them to make a deep base hoot that feels like a a lot bigger fowl. Folks seldom see these owls, however you may hear their unusually deep name from among the many treetops.

#24. Noticed Owl

spotted owl

  • Size: 17 inches (43 cm)
  • Weight: 1.3 lbs (600 grams)
  • Wingspan: 39–49 inches (1–1.25 meters)

Sadly, Noticed Owl populations proceed to say no attributable to habitat loss and competitors with Barred Owls. These threatened birds of prey solely reside in mature forests within the western United States.

So when the big bushes that these owls desire are lower down, the habitat can’t get replaced for doubtlessly lots of of years.

Noticed Owl Vary Map

spotted owl range map

Like many different owls, this species doesn’t construct its nests. As a substitute, Noticed Owls take over nests that different birds made in years previous, or they use a broken-off treetop or hole tree cavity.

The most typical sound {that a} Noticed Owl makes is a collection of four-note gentle hoots. This name is given by each sexes and used to defend and mark their territory, though it may also be heard when males ship meals to females.

#25. Boreal Owl

types of owls in the united states of america

  • Size: 9–10.5 inches (22–27 cm) lengthy
  • Weight: 3.2–7 oz. (90-200 g)
  • Wingspan: 20–24 inches (50–62 cm)

The Boreal Owl is an extremely small raptor present in the US.

They are often tough to determine as a result of they’ve a wide range of colours (from reddish-brown to grey) and patterns. They will possess both dots or streaks and generally each on the highest or backside of the physique.

Boreal Owl Vary Map

boreal owl range map

Boreal Owls reside within the boreal forests and might be seen in stands of aspen, poplar, spruce, fir, and birch bushes. Due to their distant areas, these owls are comparatively unusual and onerous to check and see, and little is thought about their inhabitants traits.

Since Boreal Owls are small, voles, bats, frogs, beetles, birds, and child squirrels are their major meals.

Their name is a small collection of whistled toots that will get progressively louder. Males sometimes solely hoot through the breeding season to draw a feminine.

#26. Northern Hawk Owl

northern hawk owl

  • Size: 14.2–17.75 inches (36–45 cm)
  • Weight: 11–12 oz (300–340 g)
  • Wingspan: 31–35 inches (77–89 cm)

Because the identify suggests, Northern Hawk Owls are likely to act extra like hawks than owls! These owls sit solitary in tall bushes and hunt through the day, that are uncommon traits in owls.

Northern Hawk Owl Vary Map

northern hawk owl range map

These birds of prey are discovered within the boreal forests of North America.

Northern Hawk Owls generally feed on voles since they are often eaten entire and are usually plentiful. In addition they will eat child hares, crimson squirrels, mice, rats, and lemmings.

Males make a rolling, low “hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo” sound repeated 10 to 200 instances. Females have comparable calls, however it’s shorter and hoarser.

#27. Quick-eared Owl

short eared owl

  • Size: 13–17 inches (34–43 cm)
  • Weight: 7.3–16.8 oz (206–475 grams)
  • Wingspan: 33.5-40.5 inches (85–103 cm)

This mid-sized tawny-brown mottled owl has false ears that aren’t all the time seen. Quick-eared Owls sometimes solely erect them after they need to look intimidating.

Your greatest probability to identify these birds of prey in the US is at nightfall or daybreak in open fields, grasslands, meadows, or airports.

Quick-eared Owl Vary Map

short ear owl range map

These owls construct their nests on the bottom in open areas similar to meadows, tundra, savanna, or prairies.

If obliged to flee its nest to attract off a predator, the guardian will poop on the eggs so the odor will maintain predators away. Like a Kildeer, Quick-eared Owls additionally lure predators away from their nest by hopping away and pretending to be injured.

Quick-eared Owls are usually not notably vocal. However after they do make noises, these birds have a name, oddly sufficient, that sounds an terrible lot like a cat in search of a mate. 


#28. Peregrine Falcon

large birds in north america

  • Size: 13-23 in / 34-58 cm
  • Weight: 12-53 oz. / 330-1500 g
  • Wingspan: 29-47 in / 74-120 cm

These giant birds of prey are generally present in North America in city areas. Due to their fondness for nesting on the perimeters of tall buildings, these falcons are frequent in cities the place they typically change into native celebrities!

Peregrine Falcon Vary Map

peregrine falcon range map

Peregrine Falcons have the respect of being the FASTEST animal on the planet!

Don’t be fooled by tales that the cheetah is the quickest creature. Oh certain, they will crank it as much as 75 mph (120 kph), and that’s wonderful for being on the bottom.

However when a Peregrine Falcon dives, it may possibly attain speeds of as much as 200 mph (320 kph)! And it begins its journey from as excessive as 3,000 ft (915 m), so it cruises at these excessive speeds for a substantial distance.


#29. American Kestrel

common falcons

  • Size: 9-12 inches / 22-31 cm
  • Weight: 2.8-5.8 oz. / 80-165 g
  • Wingspan: 20-24 inches / 51-61 cm

The American Kestrel is the smallest raptor in the US and is roughly the scale of an American Robin. Don’t let the tiny stature idiot you, although, as a result of these birds of prey are completed hunters.

Actually, you could have heard of a kestrel’s alternate identify, which is the Sparrow Hawk. This identify was given as a result of they may take sparrows and different birds of that measurement proper out of the air!

American Kestrel Vary Map

american kestrel range map

One among their favourite methods to catch prey is to hover within the breeze from a comparatively low peak, in search of bugs, invertebrates, small rodents, and birds. However life might be robust whenever you’re the smallest falcon since they’re generally eaten as prey by bigger raptors, in addition to rat snakes and corn snakes!

Kestrels have a definite name that sounds prefer it’s saying “klee-klee-klee” or “killy, killy, killy,” which is often repeated quickly. Press the PLAY button under to listen to an instance!

#30. Prairie Falcon

prairie falcon

  • Size: 14.5-18.5 in / 37-47 cm
  • Weight: 15-39 oz. / 425-1106 g
  • Wingspan: 35.5-44.5 in / 90-113 cm

You’ll discover this raptor within the openness of the western United States.

Particularly, search for Prairie Falcons in grasslands, shrubby deserts, farm fields, and pastures. If there are too many bushes round, then you definitely most likely received’t discover this lovely fowl of prey!

The Prairie Falcon and Peregrine Falcon look comparable to one another. Actually, these two species diverged from a typical ancestor about 4 million years in the past. Though roughly the identical measurement, the Prairie Falcon is a significantly lighter fowl and requires much less meals in consequence.

Prairie Falcon Vary Map

prairie falcon range map

Prairie Falcons wish to play! They’ve been noticed choosing up manure, carrying it up excessive, after which dropping it, solely to catch the cow waste earlier than it hits the bottom. It’s thought that this exercise might assist sharpen their searching expertise.

Prairie Falcons are usually silent, however they may sound an alarm name (kik-kik-kik-kik) when defending their nest or territory.

#31. Bald Eagle

large birds in north america

  • Size: 28-40 in / 70-102 cm
  • Weight: 6.5-15 lbs / 3-7 kg
  • Wingspan: 71-91 in / 1.8-2.3 m

The Bald Eagle has been the nationwide image of the US since 1782 and is likely one of the most recognizable birds on this planet!

These giant raptors are actually fairly prevalent in the US, however that wasn’t all the time the case.

Bald Eagles virtually went extinct within the mid-Twentieth century attributable to DDT poisoning. After years of devoted conservation work, they’ve recovered and are a real success story. They are mostly seen round our bodies of water.

Bald Eagle Vary Map

The rationale that Bald Eagles are discovered round water is that they largely eat fish! Search for them round marshes, lakes, coasts, and rivers. The BEST areas are forests close to giant our bodies of water that present good fishing AND tall bushes for nesting websites.

Beneath, you may hear what a Bald Eagle feels like. Should you think about an intimidating eagle name, then you definitely could be improper. I feel they sound extra like a gull, with trills and little whistles.

Press PLAY above to listen to a Bald Eagle!

#32. Merlin

types of falcons in the united states

Size: 9-13 inches / 23-33 cm

Weight: 4.4-10.6 oz. / 125-300 g

Wingspan: 21-23 inches / 53-58 cm

Merlins are small, fierce raptors present in the US.

With that being mentioned, they aren’t that frequent to look at and are unpredictable in regard to their vary. They’re a bit bigger than the American Kestrel, with a stockier construct, sharply pointed wings, and medium-length tails. You possibly can all the time determine a Merlin by its fast wingbeats and since it’s so small.

However regardless of its diminutive stature, this falcon is an extremely fierce fowl and makes use of shock assaults to convey down its prey. It’s so daring that it has been seen attacking trains and automobiles that enter its territory. 

The Merlin is one fowl you don’t need to annoy or make nervous!

Merlin Vary Map

merlin range map

Whereas usually silent, it’s potential to listen to a loud, excessive cackle that feels like “klee-klee-klee.” Sometimes, these calls are made throughout courtship or when exhibiting aggression. Press the PLAY button above to listen to an instance.

#33. Golden Eagle

species of eagles

  • Size: 26-40 in / 66-100 cm
  • Weight: 6.5-16 lbs / 3-7 kg
  • Wingspan: 71-91 in / 1.8-2.3 m

Golden Eagles are extremely quick and agile, which makes them professional hunters. The place Bald Eagles largely eat fish, these eagles virtually all the time eat mammals. Their favourite prey embrace rabbits, hares, floor squirrels, marmots, and prairie canine.

However these raptors have been recognized to hunt and kill animals as giant as small deer, seals, mountain goats, coyotes, and badgers!

Golden Eagles are darkish brown with gold feathers on the backs of their necks, which is how they bought their identify. Juvenile birds have white patches on their wings and tails. Immature Bald Eagles and grownup Golden Eagles look comparable and might be simply confused.

golden eagle vs bald eagle juvenile - common eagles

The distinguishing function between these two birds is that the Bald Eagle doesn’t thoughts exhibiting a bit leg, whereas the Golden Eagle has feathers right down to the highest of its ft.

These giant birds of prey desire huge open areas in the US, similar to landscapes that embrace cliffs, mountains, or hills. You too can spot these birds in grasslands, farmlands, shrublands, arctic tundra, and coniferous woodlands.

Golden Eagle Vary Map

golden eagle range map

These eagles are usually not extraordinarily noisy, and their calls sound like whistles which might be weak and excessive. Similar to Bald Eagles, for such a robust raptor, you’d suppose Golden Eagles would have a way more intimidating sound.

#34. Turkey Vulture

common vultures

  • Size: 25-32 in / 64-81 cm
  • Weight: 2-5 lbs / 0.8-2.4 kg
  • Wingspan: 63-72 in / 160-183 cm

The Turkey Vulture is a big fowl of prey extremely frequent in the US.

Actually, it’s the most considerable vulture in the whole nation. They’re comparatively straightforward to determine, as they’re all black, with a bald crimson head and a pinkish invoice. The identify derives from their free resemblance to a Wild Turkey.

Turkey Vultures use their extremely developed sense of odor to find carrion. Their sense of odor is so delicate that they will detect lifeless meat from 8 miles (13 km) away. These birds desire to eat recent meals, and so they attempt to get to animals as shortly as potential after their demise.

Turkey Vulture Vary Map

These birds are darkish, and so they take up warmth simply. To chill themselves off, they defecate on their legs to chill the blood and assist them average their physique temperature. Let’s collectively say “Ewww” and transfer on!

When these raptors are frightened, they are often so stuffed with meat that they can not quickly fly away. On this case, you may even see them projectile vomit what they’ve eaten to drop some pounds and escape. If they aim the predator’s face, the fabric might be blinding.

#35. Black Vulture

black vulture - common vulture species

  • Size: 22 – 29 in / 56 – 74 cm
  • Weight: 3.5 – 6.5 lbs / 1.6-3 kg
  • Wingspan: 51 – 66 in / 1.3 – 1.7 m

Black Vultures primarily eat carrion, however in contrast to most different vultures, they’re recognized to kill animals to feed on recent meat. It’s not unusual for them to prey on residing skunks, opossums, and livestock, similar to child pigs, calves, and lambs.

Black Vultures are monogamous and can stick with their mate for a few years. The loyal pair are glorious dad and mom and can defend their nest, eggs, and younger vigorously. Apparently, these vultures construct their nests on the bottom in stumps, caves, thickets, brush piles, or hole bushes. No nesting materials is used both!

Black Vulture Vary Map

Search for Black Vultures in the US in each forested and open areas. They like to roost and nest in dense forests however forage for meals alongside roads, fields, and different open areas. Black Vultures are generally seen hanging round Turkey Vultures, and it’s not as a result of they’re greatest buddies.

Between the 2 species, Turkey Vultures have a MUCH higher sense of odor. Black Vultures use this truth to their benefit and comply with Turkey Vultures to a carcass. Usually, the extra aggressive Black Vultures will thrust back their vulture cousins to have the meals all to themselves. I’m wondering if Turkey Vultures ever really feel used? 🙂

#36. Gyrfalcon


  • Size: 19 – 26 in / 48 – 65 cm
  • Weight: 1.75 – 5 lbs. / 794 – 2268 g
  • Wingspan: 43 – 63 in / 110 -160 cm

The very first thing we have to talk about relating to Gyrfalcons is how you can pronounce its identify! The proper option to pronounce the identify is “JER·falcon.” The start sounds just like the letter “J” and never the letter “G” (Click on this hyperlink to listen to somebody saying “Gyrfalcon.”)

Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way in which, let’s speak extra about this magnificent raptor! The Gyrfalcon, generally generally known as the Gyr, is the most important falcon species in North America (and the world).

They’re birds of the Arctic, and so they breed on the perimeters of cliffs in distant areas of Alaska and Canada. As a result of they reside in secluded areas, Gyrfalcons are sometimes secure from human disturbances, however they do face challenges from local weather change.

gryfalcon range map

In the course of the winter months, Gyrs have to return south from the excessive Arctic to seek out meals. Relying on the precise 12 months, you by no means understand how far south they could come! So far as sounds go, Gyrfalcons make just a few. When they’re alarmed, pay attention for a “kak kak kak” noise, which you’ll hear under.

#37. Crested Caracara

crested caracara

  • Size: 20–26 in / 50–65 cm
  • Weight: 2.9 lbs / 1.3 kg
  • Wingspan: 47–52 in / 120–132 cm

Crested Caracaras are extremely distinctive. Whereas they’re technically falcons, most individuals suppose they seem like hawks. However to make issues extra complicated, they act like vultures, as their major meals supply is carrion. In consequence, they’re typically seen scavenging on carcasses subsequent to vultures.

caracara and vulture

As if you’re not already confused about Crested Caracaras, among the best locations to seek out these birds of prey within the southern United States is ON THE GROUND, as they spend a number of time right here strolling round. It’s additionally pretty frequent for these falcons to run down reside prey, which incorporates reptiles, bugs, and small mammals.

Crested Caracaras are usually not that frequent in North America and are seen extra typically in Mexico and South America. However for those who come throughout one, there isn’t a different fowl that appears comparable!

#38. California Condor

types of vultures

  • Peak: 36-42 in / 91-107 cm
  • Weight: 17-25 lbs / 80-165 g
  • Wingspan: 114 in / 290 cm

California Condors have the LARGEST wingspan of any raptor present in the US, stretching over 9 ft from tip to tip.

One of many rarest species of birds on the planet, the California Condor went extinct within the wild in 1987 when the entire remaining birds have been captured. These birds have been then raised and bred in secure environments with the hope of releasing the offspring again into the wild.

To extend numbers, biologists wanted to encourage females to put a second egg since condors solely produce ONE egg naturally. To perform this feat, the primary egg laid was eliminated and raised by people who used puppets to imitate the dad and mom!

California Condor Vary Map

Fortunately, this system labored, and condors have been launched again into the wild in California in 1991 and Arizona in 1996. Since then, they’ve slowly been rising their numbers. In March 2020, there have been 337 birds within the wild and 181 in captive breeding packages.

#39. Swallow-tailed Kite

swallow tailed kite

  • Search for the deeply forked black tail and pointed wings flying within the sky.
  • Lengthy and slender.
  • The white head and underparts distinction with the black again and tail.

These birds of prey are unmistakable when flying over the US!

First, seeing the big forked tail is a lifeless giveaway that you simply’re watching a Swallow-tailed Kite. As well as, these raptors are extremely acrobatic and carry out all types of aerial turns, rolls, and dives!

Sadly, Swallow-tailed Kites are usually not in North America lengthy. After just a few months of elevating their younger throughout summer time, they migrate again to South America for the winter.

Swallow-tailed Kite Vary Map

swallow tailed kite range map

Apparently, these white birds generally eat bugs that sting! They’re recognized to convey total wasps’ nests again to their nest for a feast.

#40. White-tailed Kite

white tailed kite

  • A small raptor that has a white head. Pale gray on their again and shoulders.
  • White in flight, they’re white beneath with black feathers showing towards their wingtips.
  • Because the identify suggests, a protracted white tail.

The perfect locations to seek out these raptors in the US are close to grasslands, marshes, or open woodlands. You’ll possible see them attempting to find small mammals, lizards, or birds within the early morning.

White-tailed Kite Vary Map

white tailed kite range map

White-tailed Kites have an extremely distinct means of searching. They face the wind whereas hovering in place whereas scanning for prey to eat! This habits is so distinctive it has been nicknamed “kiting.” Test it out under!

Do you want assist figuring out raptors in the US?

Listed here are just a few books and sources you should purchase that can help!

To study extra about different birds in the US, take a look at these guides!

Which of those birds of prey have you ever seen earlier than in the US?

Go away a remark under!

Among the vary maps above have been generously shared with permission from The Birds of The World, revealed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. I take advantage of their website OFTEN to study new details about birds!


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