All California Birds of Prey with Pictures

To educate and inform, we have compiled the most prevalent birds of prey in California with visuals and important information. Each detail was gathered from reliable sources and double-checked by an Ornithologist for accuracy.

Red-tailed Hawks

Red-tailed Hawk

(Buteo jamaicensis) are hawks native to California. They have a distinct morphological feature – their fiery red-orange tail which is usually visible during flight. On average, they measure approximately 18–26 inches long and weigh about 2 lbs.

Red tailed Hawk mostly feeds on rodents, such as mice and rats, but they also eat reptiles, amphibians, small birds and occasionally insects. They typically live in open areas with trees such as grasslands, deserts and woodlands.

Red-tailed Hawks usually build large nests near the tops of tall trees or on cliffsides. As they are territorial creatures, they will defend their nest from predators and any intruders. Generally, they are monogamous, mating with the same partner each year.

During flight, Red-tailed Hawks often soar on thermal air currents and can reach speeds of up to 55 miles per hour. At night, they roost in trees near their nesting sites. They also migrate during winter months to warmer climates.

Red-tailed Hawks are common birds in California, and their numbers have not significantly decreased. They are also protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. As such, it is illegal to hunt or disturb them without a permit.

Red-tailed Hawk range map

Harris’s Hawk

Harris's Hawk

(Parabuteo unicinctus) is a medium-sized raptor found in open woodlands and shrubland across California. Its distinguishing characteristics are its red-brown head, gray wings, and white rump patch. It has long yellow legs and black tail tip with white bands near the end.Harris’s Hawk primarily feed on small mammals, birds, and reptiles. It hunts in groups and is known for its impressive teamwork. Its size ranges from 19 to 24 inches long with a wingspan of up to 49 inches across.

In California, the Harris’s Hawk typically inhabits open desert and shrublands at elevations between sea level and 5,000 feet. It is an opportunistic feeder, finding its meals by watchfully scanning its environment from a high perch or soaring overhead. Its behavior of hunting in groups makes it one of the few birds known to use social strategies for hunting as opposed to individual pursuits. The Harris’s Hawk is long-lived, with some documented cases living up to 22 years in the wild. Its population is stable and not currently considered threatened or endangered.

It is an important species for raptor conservation, as its diet and habit of living in groups can be used for educational demonstrations about avian behavior and ecology. Studies have also been conducted on Harris’s Hawk hunting strategies which serve to better understand the species and its needs. As a result, Harris’s Hawk populations are being managed in California to promote healthy individuals and a robust population.

Harris's Hawk range map

Burrowing Owl

Burrowing Owls1

(Athene cunicularia) is a small, nocturnal bird of the Strigidae family found in open landscapes in Western North America. It has a unique body shape with its long legs and flattened head and face giving it an owl-like appearance. The Burrowing Owl is approximately 7–10 inches (17–25 cm) in length. It has a sandy-brown plumage with white spots, and its eyes are yellow.

This species lives in open grasslands, agricultural lands, deserts, and other areas with low vegetation. They build their nests underground, usually in abandoned burrows of small mammals such as ground squirrels or prairie dogs. Burrowing Owls feed on insects, small mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds.

In California, Burrowing Owls are a species of special concern due to their dwindling numbers. This has been caused by habitat loss through urban development and agricultural conversion. They are also threatened by predation from domestic cats and other animals.

Burrowing Owls are generally solitary or found in pairs. They are most active at night, but during the day they can often be seen perched on fence posts and other elevated surfaces. When disturbed, these owls usually make a loud screeching sound and flutter their wings quickly to scare off potential predators. Their incredible eyesight allows them to spot potential prey from a distance.

Burrowing Owl range map

Cooper’s Hawk

Cooper's Hawk

(Accipiter cooperii) is a species of medium-sized hawk found in North America. It has dark brown upperparts, streaked with reddish-brown and white bars, and pale underparts with fine barring. Its wings are relatively short, curved and broad; its tail is long, wide and rounded at the end. Adults weigh between 450 and 680g.

Cooper’s Hawks have large eyes and strong talons, which they use to catch their prey of rodents, songbirds, small birds and squirrels. In California, they typically inhabit woodlands with open areas or edges near water sources such as ponds or rivers. They are often seen perched on high branches scanning for prey.

Cooper’s Hawks are highly adapted for hunting, with a fast and agile flight that allows them to pursue smaller birds quickly. During the breeding season, Cooper’s Hawks can be seen in pairs engaging in aerial maneuvers as part of their courtship behavior. Both partners will soar high in the sky, then dive plummeting towards the ground before soaring back up again. They are very territorial and will defend their territory from other birds of prey by taking part in intense aerial battles.

Cooper’s Hawks can be found throughout California, but they are most common along the coast and in the Central Valley area. During the winter months, these birds may migrate south to Mexico. Cooper’s Hawks are generally silent during the year, but they may be heard making high-pitched screeches during the breeding season. They are diurnal birds, usually seen hunting between dawn and dusk.

Cooper's Hawk range map

Northern Goshawk

Northern Goshawk

(Accipiter gentilis) is a large species of hawk found in California and throughout North America. It has a distinctive gray-brown back, wings and tail, with white undersides, a rufous belly band, yellow eyes and a black bill. It is typically around 19 – 20 inches long with a wing span of 3 1/2 – 4 feet.

The Northern Goshawk is found in a variety of open or semi-open habitats, including coniferous and deciduous forests, woodlands, swamps and even urban parks. It generally hunts from an elevated perch but may also take prey on the ground if necessary.

Its diet consists mainly of wood-pigeons and other birds, as well as small mammals such as rabbits, squirrels, and hares. It usually captures prey by diving down through thick cover or flying low in pursuit.

The Northern Goshawk is a solitary species but will form pairs during the breeding season. They build large stick nests at the tops of tall trees, where the female will lay up to 5 eggs per clutch. The male is responsible for providing food for the female during this period.

Northern Goshawk range map

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Sharp-shinned Hawk

(Accipiter striatus) is a small hawk native to North America. It has a long, narrow tail and short wings which helps it maneuver through trees and dense vegetation while hunting. Its plumage is grayish-brown on top with a white underside and streaked breast. These hawks measure around 9-13 inches in length, have a wingspan of 18-22 inches and weigh around 4 ounces.

Sharp-shinned Hawks inhabit wooded areas, from boreal forests to tropical rainforests. They typically hunt in open woodlands, along hedgerows, near water bodies or even residential areas. These birds are often seen perched atop trees or poles, and may be found migrating in large flocks in the fall and winter. They primarily feed on small birds, such as sparrows, robins, and doves.

Sharp-shinned Hawks can be seen throughout much of California except for the desert regions. These birds often use a variety of habitats from chaparral to open woodlands, and usually nest in coniferous trees. They are very territorial and defend their nesting area fiercely. During the breeding season they may be seen hovering and soaring while looking for prey. Sharp-shinned Hawks are diurnal birds and can often be observed during daylight hours as they search for food.

Sharp-shinned Hawk range map

Ferruginous Hawk

Ferruginous Hawk

(Buteo regalis) is a large hawk that can be found in California. It’s wingspan averages at about 48 inches and its body length is around 23 inches, making it one of the biggest hawks in North America. It has distinctive rusty brown feathers over its back and upper wings, with white underparts.

The Ferruginous Hawk is a scavenger, feeding primarily on small rodents, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates. It will also hunt for large animals like rabbits or ground squirrels. They can be found in open grasslands, deserts and shrub areas of California, often using perch posts to watch for prey.

The largest populations of Ferruginous Hawks in California are found in the Central Valley and Owens Valley. They typically pair up during breeding season, build a nest at the top of a tall tree or pole, and lay three to five eggs. The female will incubate the eggs while the male brings food for her and their young.

In terms of behavior, the Ferruginous Hawk is a strong, agile flier with powerful wingbeats, and is known to soar high in the sky. They are mostly solitary creatures but will sometimes hunt together in small groups. During breeding season, they can be seen performing spectacular courtship displays, such as aerobatics and dives. The pair usually mates for life.

Ferruginous Hawk range map

California Condor

California Condor

(Gymnogyps californianus) is a large bird with black feathers and a wingspan measuring up to 10 feet long. Its head is bald, except for a small crest of white feathers at the back of the neck. They have yellow eyes and powerful beaks lined with sharp hooks that allow them to tear apart their food.

Its diet mainly consists of carrion, but the California Condor will occasionally hunt small animals such as rabbits and foxes. They are found primarily in the mountain range areas of western North America, but they have been reintroduced to some locales in Southern California.

Their behavior is mostly solitary, except during nesting and mating season, when they will form small groups. They nest in caves or on cliffs and lay one to two eggs per clutch. They are slow to reproduce and grow, but as adults can live up to 60 years in the wild.

California Condor range map

Northern Harrier

Northern Harrier

(Circus cyaneus) is a medium-sized bird of prey found throughout California. It is easily distinguishable by its distinct characteristics, including its long wings and tail, white rump patch, facial disk and yellow eyes. This species typically has grey feathers on the upper body with white undersides, although male specimens may also display a light brown coloration.

The diet of Northern Harrier consists mainly of small mammals, such as mice and voles, which they hunt by gliding low over open areas while searching for their prey. They also consume a variety of birds, amphibians, reptiles and insects.

Northern Harrier has an average wingspan ranging from 44 to 54 inches (112-137 cm). Its average weight is between 13 and 18 ounces (364-508 g).

This species typically inhabits open grasslands, marshes, tundra and swamps. In California, they are often seen along coastlines and in wetlands.

Northern Harrier generally migrates south during the winter, but some individuals may stay in California if the weather is mild enough. They are monogamous, and pairs often display courtship flights before breeding. The female builds the nest and incubates her eggs while the male brings food to her during this period. Young birds leave the nest after a few weeks of fledging.

Northern Harrier range map

Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-Shouldered Hawk1

(Buteo lineatus) is a medium-sized hawk native to North America. It is characterized by its reddish brown, barred back and wings and distinctive white spots on the shoulder. Red-shouldered Hawks have a diet that consists mainly of small mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and invertebrates such as grasshoppers, crickets, and cicadas. They have a wingspan of up to 41 inches and can weigh anywhere from 12 to 24 ounces.

These birds are typically found in wooded areas such as streambanks, swamps, bottomland hardwoods, suburban parks, orchards and riparian corridors throughout California. Red-shouldered Hawks are fairly solitary birds, but will often join with flocks of other hawks during migration or in winter. They have a soaring flight pattern that is interspersed with brief glides and their call consists of a series of shrill sounds that end in a high-pitched ki-ki-ki.

Red-shouldered Hawks are listed as a species of Special Concern in California and are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Conservation efforts have been successful for this species, but ongoing monitoring of habitat and populations is still needed to ensure the protection of these birds.

Red-shouldered Hawk range map

Swainson’s Hawk

Swainson's Hawk

(Buteo swainsoni) is a large migratory bird native to the western parts of North America, from Southern Canada through Central America. It can be identified by its dark-brown head and wings, light-brown chest and tail, and yellow eyes. Its diet consists primarily of small mammals such as mice, voles, and rabbits, as well as occasionally small birds and insects. It typically measures about 48-58 cm in length, with a wingspan of 117–127 cm.

In California, Swainson’s Hawks inhabit grasslands, shrublands, chaparral and agricultural areas. While breeding season is from March to July, they can be seen year-round, though more prevalent during the warmer months. During breeding season, Swainson’s Hawks typically form large nesting colonies consisting of multiple nests within a single area.

The typical behavior of this species includes soaring on thermals and gliding in low undulations as they search for prey. Additionally, they are known to perform wide loops while in flight, as well as engage in swooping and diving during courtship flights.

Swainson's Hawk range map

Rough Legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

(Buteo lagopus) is a large bird of prey common in California. It has a dark brown back, pale gray underside and white patches on the wings and tail feathers. Its diet consists mainly of small mammals such as voles, gophers, and hares. It can reach an average size of 18-25 inches in length with a wingspan of 40-50 inches.

Rough Legged Hawks are typically found in open habitats such as grasslands, tundra and savannas. They usually hunt from a perch while hovering or gliding over the ground. During breeding season they may even be seen flying right above the treetops searching for prey. In California it can be seen from November to March during their migration. During the summer it typically breeds in northern regions like Alaska and Canada.

Rough Legged Hawks are known for their distinctive ‘mewing’ calls which can often be heard in California. They also sometimes perform a courtship display flight with steep, acrobatic dives and swoops.

Rough-legged Hawk range map

White-tailed Kite

White-tailed Kite

(Elanus leucurus) is a medium-sized raptor native to California. Adult birds are approximately 16 inches in length and have a wingspan of roughly 39 inches. This bird has white underparts, black shoulders and upper wings, and a distinctive white tail with a dark ‘V’ near the tips of its feathers. Its head is gray, while its beak and eyes are dark.

White-tailed Kites primarily prey on small mammals such as mice, voles, squirrels, and insects. They can also feed on carrion and eggs from other birds’ nests. White-tailed Kites inhabit open habitats with plenty of perching opportunities, including grasslands, savannas, and semi-arid regions. They are also known to live in urban areas such as parks and pastures.

White-tailed Kites are highly sociable birds that often hunt in flocks of up to 40 individuals. During the breeding season, pairs establish nesting territories which they defend from other kites.The female builds a nest in a tree or shrub and lays 2-4 eggs. Both the male and female share incubating duties, though it is primarily the female who does most of the feeding of the young once they hatch.

White-tailed Kites are diurnal birds that can be seen flying gracefully during the day in search of food. When their prey is located, these raptors swoop down and snatch it up with their talons. As the population of White-tailed Kites in California has been declining over the past few decades, they are now protected under state law. Conservation efforts to protect this species are ongoing.

White-tailed Kite range map

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl

(Bubo virginianus) are one of the most widespread birds across North America. They can be found in a wide range of habitats including forests, deserts, grasslands and even near urban areas. In California, Great Horned Owls are typically found in forested areas, but they have also been observed using riparian corridors as well as open agricultural areas.

Great Horned Owls are large owls with a wingspan of up to 1.5 meters (4 ft 11 in) and an average total length of around 53 cm (21 in). They have characteristic feather tufts on their heads, yellow eyes and brownish-gray plumage speckled with black and white.

These owls are carnivorous, and have a varied diet including small mammals such as rodents, hares and rabbits, as well as birds and invertebrates like frogs and insects. Great Horned Owls are also known to prey on larger animals such as skunks and even domestic cats and dogs.

In terms of behavior, Great Horned Owls are primarily nocturnal and hunt during the night. They are also known to be aggressive in defending their territories, often engaging in loud vocalizations that can be heard for miles. During breeding season, pairs of owls may engage in aerial duels as part of courtship displays or territorial disputes.

Great Horned Owl range map

American Kestrel

American Kestrel

(Falco sparverius) is a small falcon species native to North America. It is approximately 9-12 inches in length, with a wingspan of 20-24 inches. American Kestrels have long tails and pointed wings, as well as distinctive markings; males have blue-gray upper parts and orange barring on the underparts, while females are brown.

The American Kestrel has a wide range of habitats and can be found from southern Canada to South America. In California, they inhabit both grasslands and deserts, especially near rivers and other bodies of water. They feed primarily on small rodents, insects, lizards, and birds. American Kestrels hunt by hovering in the air and looking for prey on the ground. They are also known to make use of man-made structures such as telephone poles and power lines.

American Kestrels communicate with each other through vocalizations, along with tail flicks and head bobs. They build nests from sticks in tree cavities, ledges, or buildings. Both parents take part in caring for the eggs and young fledglings until they are ready to leave the nest. American Kestrels have complex social lives, with multiple displays of courtship behavior. They are highly territorial and will fiercely defend their nesting area from other birds.

American Kestrel range map

Spotted Owl

Spotted Owl

(Strix occidentalis) is a species of owl that can be found in parts of California. These birds are easily recognizable by their dark brown and white spotted feathers, yellow eyes, and facial disc rimmed with white feathers. Spotted Owls typically reach lengths of 18-20 inches (46-51 cm), making them one of the larger species of owl.

In California, Spotted Owls can be found living in old-growth forests and areas with large trees and dense understory vegetation, usually at elevations up to 6,000 feet. They are mostly nocturnal, spending the day roosting in tree cavities or on branches before emerging at night to hunt for their diet of small mammals, such as voles, mice and squirrels.

Spotted Owls are an endangered species in California that have seen a steady decline in population due to habitat loss and competition with more aggressive Barred Owls. They are protected by federal law under the Endangered Species Act. Conservation efforts have been developed to help protect their habitat and ensure a future for this species.

Spotted Owl range map

Great Gray Owl

Great-Gray Owl

(Strix nebulosa) is a large owl found in northern parts of North America, Europe, and Asia. It has a distinctive heart-shaped facial disc, which helps it to capture sound from distant places. In California, they can be found mainly in the mountains and deserts of Siskiyou County and the Cascade Range.

The Great Gray Owl is distinguished by its large size, measuring up to 32 inches in length with a wingspan of up to 4.5 feet. It has a distinctive gray-brown and white coloration, which helps it blend into the environment, and yellow eyes surrounded by dark circles.

In terms of diet, the Great Gray Owl primarily hunts small rodents, such as voles, lemmings, and mice. The owl also eats small birds and larger insects when available.

The Great Grey Owl is a solitary bird and does not migrate regularly like other owl species, preferring to stay in its home range year-round. They live in forests with mature trees and open areas, such as meadows and fields, where they can hunt. Roosting during the day and hunting at night, they are most active around dusk and dawn.

Great Gray Owls live up to 10 years in the wild but can reach 25 years of age in captivity. They are monogamous birds that breed once a year, with the female laying 1-4 eggs that hatch after about 29 days.

These majestic birds of prey face a number of threats such as habitat destruction, predation, and collisions with vehicles. Fortunately, their population is stable in California and conservation efforts are in place to ensure these remarkable creatures continue to thrive for years to come.

Great Gray Owl range map

Prairie Falcon

Prairie Falcon

(Falco mexicanus) is a large bird of prey native to California. It has long, pointed wings and a rounded tail with white spots on the tip. Its body is brownish-gray in color and its head is darker than the rest of its body. Prairie Falcons are most often seen flying in open areas such as grasslands and shrub-steppe.

The Prairie Falcon is around 40 to 50 centimeters in length and its wingspan can reach up to 1 meter. It has a variety of diets, including rodents, birds, reptiles and even insects. Its primary habitat is the open grasslands and shrub steppes found throughout California.

When hunting, the Prairie Falcon typically dives from high above to capture its prey in mid-air. It is a powerful flyer and can reach speeds of up to 160 kilometers per hour when chasing after its food.

Prairie Falcons are often seen together, either perched on fences or soaring together in the air. They also call out with strong, harsh cries when in flight. The males are very territorial and will attack intruders with their sharp talons if threatened.

Prairie Falcon range map

Western Screech-owl

Western-Screech Owl

(Megascops kennicottii) is a small owl species found in western North America. They are about nine inches long with yellow eyes and a greyish-brown body covered in finely barred streaks of black, white, and brown. Their diet consists of insects, small rodents, reptiles, amphibians, and even other birds.

Western Screech-owls are found in a variety of habitats, including open woodland areas near water sources and dense coniferous forests. They prefer to nest on the side of tree cavities or old woodpecker holes usually situated 8 m above ground level. During the day they roost in thick vegetation, stumps, cavities, or woodpecker holes.

Western Screech-owls are mainly nocturnal and spend much of the night hunting. At dusk they become vocal and can be heard emitting a distinctive tremolo call, hence their name. They also use other vocalizations such as hoots, chatters, whinnies and screeches. They also possess a unique defense mechanism in which they can immediately flatten their feathers and appear to look like bark on a tree, allowing them to remain undetected by potential predators.

In California, the Western Screech-owl is considered a species of special concern due to concerns about its population size. The ongoing degradation of the owl’s habitat and the impacts of human activities are all contributing factors to its population decline. Conservation efforts have been implemented in order to conserve this species, such as creating artificial nest sites and protecting their habitats from further degradation.

Western Screech-Owl range map

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

(Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is a large bird of prey native to North America. It has a body length of about 30 inches, a wingspan of 6-7 feet and can weigh up to 15 pounds. In California, the bald eagle inhabits both marine and terrestrial habitats including open coastlines, rivers, lakes and marshes. It mainly feeds on fish but will also eat other birds and small mammals.

Its distinguishing features include a white head and tail, yellow beak and feet, and dark brown body plumage. The bald eagle is an apex predator that has adapted its behavior to take advantage of the resources in its environment; it typically hunts during the day and roosts in tall trees at night.

Bald eagles are monogamous and will typically mate for life. They build large sticks nests in tall trees, cliffs or other structures where they lay one to three eggs each year. It is estimated that the bald eagle population in California has grown from an estimated 500 pairs in 1988 to over 5000 pairs today.

Bald Eagle range map

Barn Owl

Barn Owl1

(Tyto alba) is a small to medium-sized owl native to California and many other parts of the world. It has pale yellow eyes, white heart-shaped face, long legs, and buffy brown wings with dark spots. Its body length typically ranges from 12–15 inches, making it one of the larger members of the Tytonidae family.

Barn Owls typically inhabit open habitats such as grasslands and agricultural land and are often spotted roosting on posts or trees alongside roads. They feed mainly on small mammals, such as voles, rats, mice, shrews and moles but will also take birds, frogs and large insects when available.

When active, Barn Owls hunt actively during the night, searching for prey with slow quartering flights and occasional hovering. They are often heard more than seen, their distinctive screeching call being used to communicate with other owls or attract a mate. They nest in cavities such as buildings or tree hollows and typically use the same nesting site for several years.

Barn Owls are an important indicator species, as their presence or absence can tell us a great deal about the health of our environment and whether it is able to support other wildlife species.

Barn Owl range map

Peregrine Falcons

Peregrine Falcon

(Falco peregrinus) are one of the most recognizable birds of prey native to California. They have a distinct black “moustache” line on their faces, along with slate gray wings and back. These raptors typically have a white underside, with brown barring at the chest, belly, and thighs.

Peregrine Falcons can measure up to 19-21 inches in length, with a wingspan of 38-44 inches. These birds live primarily along coastal and mountainous areas in California, often nesting on rocky cliffs near the ocean.

They feed largely on other birds and small mammals such as voles and pigeons. Peregrine Falcons use their incredible speed–up to 200 mph–for hunting prey in steep dives. They also use their speed for territorial defense, chasing away intruders from their territory. When not hunting or defending their turf, Peregrine Falcons can be seen gliding over the landscape and soaring through the sky with effortless grace.

In California, Peregrine Falcon populations are slowly growing due to ongoing conservation efforts. The species is still listed as endangered in the state, but with continued protection and management, their numbers will continue to increase.

Peregrine Falcon range map

Snowy Owl

snowy owl

Bubo scandiacus, is a large owl native to the Arctic regions of North America. It can be found in northern parts of California, though it is not as common there as elsewhere. The snowy owl has white feathers and yellow eyes; its wingspan can reach up to five feet.

This bird primarily eats small mammals such as hares, lemmings and voles, though it will also eat insects, birds and fish. Its habitat consists of open tundra areas, meadows and fields with plenty of ground cover; in California, it may live in some grassland habitats. The snowy owl is mostly active during the day, although it may hunt at night if the conditions are right. It will commonly perch on fence posts and rocks to survey its surroundings for potential prey.

When hunting, it will swoop down from a high altitude to capture its prey in midair. As a result of human activity, this species may be losing some of its native habitat, making it more vulnerable than before. It is still a relatively common species though, so conservation efforts are in place to ensure its long-term survival.

Snowy Owl range map

Golden Eagle

Golden Eagle

(Aquila chrysaetos) is a large bird of prey found in California. It has brownish black feathers and a distinctive yellow beak and feet. Its wingspan can reach up to 7 feet wide and it can weigh up to 14 pounds. Golden Eagles prefer open country, such as plains, prairies, mountain foothills, and coastal areas. They feed mostly on small mammals, such as rabbits and ground squirrels, but also eat birds and reptiles.

Their diet also includes carrion and occasionally fish. They hunt by soaring high above the ground in search of prey, then swooping down and capturing it with their talons. Golden Eagles are usually solitary, but they may gather in slightly larger numbers during the breeding season. They build large nests, usually in trees or on cliffs, and lay one to four eggs. This species is currently listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.

The Golden Eagle is protected by law in California and is considered a Species of Special Concern by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Despite this, their population is slowly declining due to habitat loss and human disturbance. To help conserve these majestic birds, it is important that we take steps to protect their habitats as well as minimize our impacts on them.

This can include avoiding activities such as hunting or hiking in areas where Golden Eagles are known to nest. By taking these simple steps, we can help ensure that Golden Eagles continue to soar above California for years to come.

Golden Eagle range map

Short-eared Owl

Short-eared Owls

(Asio flammeus) is a small owl, with a wing span of 17-24 inches. Male owls are typically light brown in color, while females have darker feathers, and both have yellow eyes. Its diet consists mainly of small mammals like mice and voles, as well as insects such as grasshoppers and cicadas.

Short-eared Owls inhabit open meadows, grasslands and marshes in California. Their behavior is often described as “fluttering” or loping flight patterns with flat wings. They are mostly active at dawn and dusk, but can also be spotted during the day hunting for prey. During breeding season, males perform a “sky dance”, soaring high in the sky and then diving towards the ground, as part of their courtship ritual. They also have a distinct call that is quite loud – consisting of six to eight hoots.

In California, Short-eared Owls can be found during migration season when they often seek out open, grassy habitats. They are rare to see, but if you do spot one be sure to admire it from a distance as they are protected under the Migratory Bird Act.

Short-eared Owls have been declining in population worldwide due to habitat destruction, pesticides and rodenticides that reduce prey availability, and collisions with man-made structures. Conservation efforts are underway to protect these birds and their habitats in California, including the planting of native shrubs, grasses and sedges in open meadows, preserving natural wetlands, and controlling off-road vehicles to prevent disturbance.

Short-eared Owl range map

Northern Saw-whet Owl

Northern Saw-Whet Owl

(Aegolius acadicus) is a small owl native to North America. It has a rounded head, yellow eyes and a pale brown facial disk. Its upperparts are brown with white spotting, while its underparts are whitish with fine brown barring. Its diet consists mainly of small mammals such as mice, voles and shrews, but it also eats birds, frogs and large insects.

It is typically 8 inches (20 cm) in length with a wingspan of 17–19 inches (43–48 cm). It has a small rounded body and short tail, making it one of the smallest owl species in North America. Its call consists of a series of rapid “toots” that rise in pitch and volume.

In California, the Northern Saw-whet Owl is found in coniferous forests and dense woodlands near water. It nests in hollow trees or nest boxes, preferring to roost under cover of dense foliage during the day. During breeding season, it becomes more active at night due to increased hunting opportunities. It is also highly territorial, defending its territory with loud calls and short flights. The Northern Saw-whet Owl is most active in the late evening and early morning hours. It tends to remain still while hunting its prey, making it difficult to spot.

Northern Saw-whet Owl range map

Turkey Vulture

Turkey Vulture

(Cathartes aura) are large birds of prey that can be found throughout the state of California. They are easily identifiable by their bald red heads, brown bodies, and broad wingspan. These birds typically feed on carrion (dead animals), but they will also eat eggs and small reptiles. In terms of size, Turkey Vultures can reach up to 25 inches in length, with wingspans of upward of five feet.

They are most commonly found in open habitats such as grasslands and shrub-steppe areas. In terms of behavior, Turkey Vultures often travel in groups wherever they go and they communicate using a variety of different vocalizations. Furthermore, they have been known to use the warm rising air currents, or thermals, as a method of travel. These birds are incredibly important to California’s ecosystem as they provide an invaluable service by helping to keep it clean and healthy.

This makes them an integral part of the state’s biodiversity and helps illustrate why conservation efforts must be taken. Conservation efforts include land management practices that limit human disturbance and encourage the protection of these birds and their habitats. In addition, research into new methods of conservation must be taken to ensure that this incredible species can continue to flourish in California for years to come.

Turkey Vulture range map

Prairie Falcons

Prairie Falcon

(Falco mexicanus) are found in the western United States, particularly California. These birds of prey are characterized by barred gray and brown feathers on their backs, white spots on their chests, a yellow beak with black markings and yellow feet. Prairie Falcons have a broad diet consisting of small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects and other small birds. These majestic falcons can reach lengths of up to 20 inches and possess a wingspan of up to 52 inches.

Prairie Falcons typically inhabit open fields, grasslands, desert hillsides and cliffs in western areas of the United States. They also have been known to take residence atop electrical towers or other tall man-made structures. In California, they can be found in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range and along the Central Valley. These birds of prey exhibit remarkable behavior as they hunt their prey by soaring high in the sky and diving at extremely fast speeds to capture their food. Prairie Falcons also mate for life, often building nests together on top of cliffs or other tall structures.

In California, Prairie Falcons are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and habitat conservation efforts have been made to protect their breeding grounds from destruction by humans. With careful protection and conservation, they can be seen soaring majestically through the golden Californian skies for years to come.

Prairie Falcon range map

What is the most common hawk in California?

The Red-tailed Hawk is the most common hawk species in California. Native to North America, this hawk can be found throughout the state. It has a distinctive reddish brown tail, which gives it its name, and is usually seen soaring high in the sky or perched atop telephone poles or trees. The male Red-tailed Hawk typically has more mottled coloring than the female, and can weigh up to four pounds.

They typically hunt small mammals like rodents and rabbits, but will also take advantage of carrion or insects when available. Red-tailed Hawks are incredibly adaptable and have been known to thrive in suburban areas as well as more rural ones.

Does California have falcons?

Yes, California does have falcons. Falcons are widespread throughout the state and can be found in many different habitats including grasslands, coasts, deserts, and mountains. These birds of prey spend most of their time soaring high above the landscape in search of prey. They feed mainly on small mammals such as mice, voles, and other small birds.

Falcons are a protected species in California and it is illegal to hunt, trap, or kill them. If you want to see these birds of prey up close, visit some of the many wildlife preserves throughout the state where they often perch on fence posts or can be spotted soaring by.

What is the biggest hawk in California?

The largest hawk found in California is the Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis). This species of hawk can grow up to 24 inches long, with a wingspan of up to 54 inches. Red-tailed Hawks have distinctive reddish tails and brown bodies. They are commonly found perched on telephone poles or hovering near open fields where they hunt for small mammals, reptiles, and insects. The Red-tailed Hawk is a permanent resident of California and can be found across most of the state, from the coastal areas to the deserts. They are one of the most common hawks in North America.

What birds of prey are in Los Angeles?

Los Angeles is home to a variety of birds of prey, including several species of hawks and owls. The most common hawk species in the area is the Red-tailed Hawk, which can be seen soaring over open fields and woodlands. Other species, such as the Cooper’s Hawk, Common Black-Hawk, and Northern Harrier, can occasionally be spotted.

In addition, the Barn Owl is common in Los Angeles and can often be seen roosting in old buildings or abandoned structures. Finally, the American Kestrel and Prairie Falcon are also present in the area, although they prefer more open habitats than some of the other birds of prey in Los Angeles.

Bird feeders for bird prey

Bird prey species are also popular in Los Angeles, allowing homeowners to attract hawks and owls to their property. These feeders can be filled with small mammals such as mice or rabbits, providing a reliable food source for these birds of prey.