Largest Birds In Pennsylvania with Pictures

Pennsylvania is home to some of the grandest birds in North America. These majestic creatures are captivating to behold, and have long been a source of wonder and awe for generations. From soaring bald eagles to red-tailed hawks, Pennsylvania has something for bird watchers of all ages. In this article, we will take an in-depth look at the largest birds that can be found in the Keystone State. We’ll discuss their unique behaviors, habitats, and diets, as well as how they fit into Pennsylvania’s diverse wildlife ecosystem. So come along with us on our journey through Pennslyvania’s avian wonderland!

Golden Eagle – A Majestic Raptor Of Pennsylvania

Golden Eagle
Golden Eagle

The Golden Eagle is one of the largest birds found in Pennsylvania. With a wingspan that can range from 6 to 7 feet, this majestic raptor has been known to soar over mountains and valleys with an impressive grace. Although the great horned owl and rough legged hawk are also two large predatory birds found in the state, they don’t come close to matching the size of the golden eagle.

Golden Eagle range map

In addition to its striking size, the golden eagle stands out for its unique characteristics such as its white tail feathers, yellow beak and powerful talons used mainly for catching prey like rabbits or ground squirrels. Moreover, these eagles typically live up to 25 years which makes them both revered by many conservationists and protected under various laws throughout Pennsylvania. To sum up, the golden eagle is undoubtedly one of the most awe-inspiring creatures flying across our state’s landscape today. Now let’s take a look at another bird species inhabiting Pennsylvania: The American White Pelican – An Unmistakable Sight.

American White Pelican – An Unmistakable Sight

American White Pelican
American White Pelican

The American white pelican is one of the largest birds in Pennsylvania. It stands an impressive 4 feet tall and has a wingspan up to 9 feet. Its scientific name, Pelecanus erythrorhynchos, means ‘red-billed’ after its bright orange bill with a long hook at the end used for feeding on fish. The bird’s head and neck are covered in white feathers while its body is greyish black with brown markings along its back. They inhabit lakes and rivers throughout the region during their breeding season from April through August.

American White Pelican range map

Additionally, other large birds such as the great blue heron (Ardea herodias) and sandhill crane (Antigone canadensis) can be found in Pennsylvania too. The great blue heron stands four feet tall with a wingspan stretching five feet across that makes it easy to spot when searching for wildlife among wetlands or woodlands. Meanwhile, Canada geese, have become common sights around parks and golf courses due to their large population size here in PA. Their scientific name gives away their origin: Branta meaning ‘black’ goose since they sport glossy black heads atop mainly white bodies measuring between 2 ½ – 3 ¾ feet tall making them highly visible anywhere you go!

Sandhill Crane – A Wading Bird Of Magnificent Size

Sandhill Crane
Sandhill Crane

The American White Pelican is a large bird, to be sure, but it has nothing on the sandhill crane. This giant of wading birds can reach heights up to four feet and can weigh over fifteen pounds – an impressive size indeed! The great blue heron may be somewhat larger than the sandhill crane in height, but even then its wingspan still falls short of matching that of the sandhill crane’s expansive wings which span nearly six feet wide when outstretched.

Sandhill Crane range map

The sandhill crane is one of nature’s most majestic sights; its long neck swiveling atop its tall body as if surveying all who behold it. It is believed by some that this species was once revered among Native Americans for their regal presence, while others simply delight in watching these magnificent creatures take flight against the backdrop of a sunset sky or gracefully wander along shallow waters in search of food. All who have experienced seeing a flock of sandhill cranes in person will tell you it is an experience not easily forgotten. With such awe-inspiring beauty and strength, it is no wonder why they are considered one of Pennsylvania’s largest birds. As we continue our journey through Pennsylvanian wildlife let us now turn to another remarkable avian creature – the double crested cormorant–a large waterbird whose appearance defies description.

Double Crested Cormorant – A Large Waterbird

Double-crested Cormorant
Double Crested Cormorant

The Double Crested Cormorant is a large waterbird native to Pennsylvania. It’s scientific name, Phalacrocorax auritus, indicates its bright yellow throat patch and the two tufts of feathers that give it its distinctive double-crested appearance. This species can be found in lakes, rivers, ponds, marshes and other wetland habitats across the state. They feed mainly on fish but also take small crustaceans, aquatic insects and even frogs.

Double-crested Cormorant range map

Compared to some of the other large birds found in Pennsylvania such as golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos), sandhill cranes (Antigone canadensis) and ospreys (Pandion haliaetus), cormorants are smaller with an average wingspan of 30–36 inches compared to their counterparts’ wingspans which range from 60–90 inches. Despite this size difference they remain powerful hunters adept at diving deep underwater for food. With this in mind, they are still capable predators within their habitat. Next we’ll look at red-tailed hawks – powerful predators of the skies.

Red-Tailed Hawks – Powerful Predators Of The Skies

Red-tailed Hawk
Red-Tailed Hawk

The red-tailed hawk is one of the most iconic raptor species in Pennsylvania. This powerful predator can be seen soaring overhead, with its distinctive rust-colored tail feathers and broad wingspan. With a scientific name of Buteo jamaicensis, it’s no wonder that this bird has become so well known throughout the state.

Red-tailed Hawk range map

Red tailed hawks are highly adaptable and opportunistic hunters, often preying on small mammals such as rabbits or rodents but also eating a variety of other creatures including insects and reptiles. They have strong talons for grasping their prey and keen eyesight to spot potential targets from high up in the sky. Red tailed hawks will even scavenge carrion when food is scarce. All these traits make them incredibly efficient predators capable of surviving in many different habitats across Pennsylvania.

These majestic raptors play an important role in the ecosystem by helping to keep rodent populations under control while providing entertainment for residents who take pleasure in watching them soar through the air. As they continue to spread across the Commonwealth, they will remain a common sight in both rural and urban areas alike – something Pennsylvanians can always appreciate!

Great Egret – An Elegant Sight In Pennsylvania’S Wetlands

Great Egret
Great Egret

The Great Egret is one of Pennsylvania’s most majestic birds. With its long neck and white feathers, it stands out among the state’s wetlands. It has a wingspan reaching up to five feet in length, making it one of the largest birds found here. The Great Egret feeds on fish, frogs, snakes and other small aquatic creatures. Its diet makes it an important part of wetland ecosystems throughout the state.

Great Egret range map

Along with Great Egrets, Pennsylvania also has large populations of great horned owls, broad-winged hawks and sandhill cranes that inhabit areas near rivers and lakes. These species help maintain healthy animal communities by preying on smaller animals as well as providing food for larger predators such as eagles and foxes who may not normally feed on prey this size. While these birds are all impressive sights to behold in the skies above Pennsylvania’s wetlands, none of them can compare to the elegance and grace of the Great Egret soaring through the air or standing tall in a marshy lake bed. This bird truly provides a glimpse into nature at its finest.

Great Blue Heron – The Largest North American Heron

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

Pennsylvania is home to a variety of large wading birds, including the Great Blue Heron. Standing as tall as four and a half feet, it is the largest heron species in North America. This majestic bird has an unmistakable silhouette with its long S-curved neck, dagger-like bill, and broad wingspan. Furthermore, they have a striking blue-gray coloration that can be seen from miles away.

Great Blue Heron range map

Golden Eagles are also found throughout Pennsylvania’s forests and mountainous regions. These large raptors have been known to reach up to three and a half feet long with six foot wingspans – making them one of the most impressive birds of prey in North America.

Golden Eagle
Golden Eagle

With their golden feathers on top of their heads and fierce yellow eyes, these magnificent creatures are not easily forgotten once spotted.

The sight of both Great Blue Herons and Golden Eagles soaring through the sky or perched atop trees make for breathtaking vistas across Pennsylvania landscapes. It is no wonder why these two species are considered some of the state’s most beloved birds by locals and tourists alike! Now let us take a look at another remarkable avian resident: the Broad-winged Hawk – a strikingly beautiful harrier.

Broad-Winged Hawk – A Strikingly Beautiful Harrier

Broad-winged Hawk
Broad-Winged Hawk

The Broad-Winged Hawk is one of the largest birds in Pennsylvania. It has broad wings and a long tail, which it uses to soar over forests and fields. Its coloration is striking: its back is dark with light brown streaks, while its chest is white with black spots. This makes for an impressive sight when flying through the sky.

Broad-winged Hawk range map

Rough-legged hawks are also large birds found in Pennsylvania. They have long wings and tails that allow them to soar great distances as they hunt for food.

Rough-legged Hawk
Rough-legged hawk

Their feathers are predominantly gray or brown, making them well camouflaged against their environment. The bald eagle can also be seen soaring above the treetops in Pennsylvania, though these majestic birds are rarer than either rough-legged hawks or broad-winged hawks.

These three species represent some of the largest predatory birds in Pennsylvania and offer a stunning display when viewed in flight. With their powerful wingspans and agility, they provide an awe-inspiring view of nature’s beauty that cannot easily be matched elsewhere. Moving on from this trio of raptors, let us take a look at another iconic bird species – the Trumpeter Swan – king of swans in PA!

Trumpeter Swan: The King Of Swans In Pa

Trumpeter Swan
Trumpeter Swan

The majestic trumpeter swan is the crowning king of large birds in Pennsylvania. Their elegant wingspan and melodious call make them a sight to behold, soaring gracefully above the countryside like a royal banner waving proudly in the wind. In addition to being captivatingly beautiful, these regal creatures are also incredibly hardy; they can survive even through some of Pennsylvania’s toughest winters.

Trumpeter Swan range map

Trumpeter swans inhabit both rural and urban areas throughout the state, but they have special places in their hearts for wetlands and bodies of water. Along with bald eagles, turkey vultures, and great horned owls, trumpeter swans help maintain balance within Pennsylvania’s avian ecosystems. These powerful birds are an essential part of our environment and should be respected as such. They are living reminders that nature offers its own kind of royalty – one which we should recognize as well as protect. With this in mind, let us now turn our attention to mute swan: The graceful giant on Pennsylvania’s waters.

Mute Swan: The Graceful Giant On Pennsylvania’s Waters

Mute Swan
Mute Swan

The Mute Swan is one of the largest birds in Pennsylvania. Growing to around 4-6 feet long and weighing up to 25 pounds, these handsome creatures are truly majestic as they gracefully glide across Pennsylvania’s waters. The Mute Swans’ wingspan can reach up to 8 feet wide, making them an impressive sight. These graceful giants have been a part of Pennsylvanian wildlife for centuries and their presence can still be seen today along rivers, lakes, and ponds throughout the state.

Mute Swan range map

These beautiful swans are a symbol of serenity and peace due to their peaceful nature and lack of vocalization. They feed on aquatic vegetation such as water lilies or grasses found at the edges of waterways. This gentle giant also serves another important role by helping keep its environment clean by consuming large amounts of algae that would otherwise accumulate in our bodies of water.

Mute Swans remain popular among birders both young and old alike because of their remarkable beauty and size. It’s no wonder why visitors from all over flock to enjoy this stunning species that graces our waters each year! With proper care, we hope these graceful creatures will continue to thrive in Pennsylvania for many years to come. Transitioning now into Canada Goose: One of the Largest Geese in the World…

Canada Goose: One Of The Largest Geese In The World

Canada Goose bird
Canada Goose
Canada Goose range map

Pennsylvania is also home to some of the largest birds on the planet. Among them, there are five species which stand out with their sheer size and majestic majesty. These include:

  • The turkey vulture (Cathartes aura), a large scavenger bird found throughout Pennsylvania;
  • The bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), our national symbol, commonly seen in parts of rural PA;
  • The golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), an impressive raptor that can be spotted soaring across open fields and mountainsides;
  • Canada goose (Branta canadensis), one of the biggest geese in the world; and
  • Red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus), an elegant predator often seen hovering over woodlands.

These birds all share an air of grandeur and power, easily visible from far distances as they soar above us or glide gracefully along riverbanks. Their beauty alone is enough to awe even experienced observers, but it’s when you get close enough to observe these creatures up close that you truly appreciate their magnificence. From the powerful wingspan of the eagles to the muted honks of the Canada goose, watching any of these feathered giants will leave you spellbound. And if you’re lucky enough, you may just catch sight of a red-shouldered hawk soar across the sky – an experience like no other!

Watch A Red-Shouldered Hawk Soar Across The Sky

Red-Shouldered Hawk1
Red-Shouldered Hawk

The Red-shouldered Hawk is one of the largest birds in Pennsylvania, and it’s a beautiful sight to behold. It has broad wings that are often brown with white patches, and its tail is heavily banded. Its call is loud and distinct – a high pitched ‘kee-aar’ sound. When you see one soaring across the sky, it’s an impressive sight!

Red-shouldered Hawk range map

Canada Geese can also be seen flying through Pennsylvanian skies during certain times of year. They usually fly in large V formations and make quite a bit of noise as they pass by. The geese have black heads and necks, dark gray bodies, and white feathers on their tails and bellies. Even though they’re not as big as the Red-shouldered Hawk, they still make for a spectacular view against the backdrop of blue sky.

Seeing these majestic creatures take flight never fails to inspire awe. Whether it’s the silent gracefulness of the Red-shouldered Hawk or the noisy commotion created by hundreds of Canada Geese in formation – watching them soar across Pennsylvania’s skies never gets old! Moving onto another imposing bird native to PA: Black vulture: an impressive flier in pa’s skies.

Black Vulture: An Impressive Flier In Pa’S Skies

Black Vulture
Black Vulture

The Black Vulture is a large bird of prey that can be found in Pennsylvania. This species has two distinct scientific names: Coragyps atratus and Cathartes aura, where the former refers to its black feathers while the latter means “purifying breeze”. It belongs to the same family as Turkey Vultures but are larger than their cousins with wingspans reaching up to six feet across! They have a unique silhouette compared to other birds due to their long tails and rounded wings which show off during soaring flights.

Black Vulture range map

Black vultures forage both on land or water for carrion, small animals, eggs and occasionally grain crops; they also scavenge from human garbage when available. In addition to this, these impressive fliers often make use of thermals – pockets of warm air rising from the ground – by gliding without beating their wings, allowing them to travel vast distances quickly and efficiently over PA skies. All in all, Black Vultures may not look attractive like many other birds but they remain an important part of Pennsylvania’s ecosystem while providing us with some great visuals as they soar high above. Transcending into the next section, Great Horned Owls are another raptor species native to Pennsylvania who hunt nocturnally rather than diurnally like Black Vultures.

Great Horned Owls: Nocturnal Hunters In Pa

Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owl

As the day fades and darkness takes over, a new species of bird can be found in Pennsylvania’s skies: the Great Horned Owl. Unlike the Black Vultures that soar during daylight hours, these nocturnal hunters are rarely seen by most people. The Great Horned Owls’ powerful talons make them formidable predators on smaller birds and mammals such as rabbits and rodents.

Physical CharacteristicsHabitatDiet
Large sizeFields & woodlandsSmall creatures & other birds
Distinctive ear tuftsMountains & desertsFruit & berries
Pale yellow eyesSwampsInsects
Great Horned Owl range map

The physical characteristics of this owl include its large size, distinctive ear tufts, and pale yellow eyes. These owls inhabit fields and woodlands, mountains and deserts, and even swamps throughout Pennsylvania. Their diet consists of small creatures like mice or voles as well as other birds like turkey vultures. They also eat fruit, berries, insects, frogs and fish when available.

The great horned owl is an impressive hunter due to their sharp vision at night coupled with silent flight capabilities. This allows them to surprise unsuspecting prey while they sleep or feed making them one of nature’s top predators in Pennsylvania’s diverse ecosystems. With all these attributes it is no wonder why they have earned the nickname “the tiger of the sky”. Moving onto another raptor native to PA’s skies: the Rough-Legged Hawk – a winter visitor unrivaled in aerial hunting ability.

Rough-Legged Hawk: A Winter Visitor To Pennsylvania

Rough-legged Hawk
Rough-Legged Hawk

One of the largest birds to be found in Pennsylvania is the Rough-Legged Hawk. This species, scientifically known as Buteo lagopus, usually migrates south during winter and makes its way into PA on a regular basis. It is most often seen when other northern bird species like snowy owls come down with it.

Rough-legged Hawk range map

The Rough-Legged Hawk has a wingspan that can reach up to five feet, making it one of the larger raptors you’ll find in this state. Its plumage also tends to be darker than some of the vulture species that are commonly spotted here. As such, they tend to stand out more thanks to their size and coloring. They typically feed on small mammals or carrion and prefer open areas where they can easily spot prey from above.

Rough-Legged Hawks make for an impressive sight in Pennsylvania’s skies every year during wintertime. These majestic creatures bring plenty of beauty wherever they go and captivate viewers below with their sheer size and power. Spotting one won’t always be easy but if you’re lucky enough it will definitely leave an impression!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Best Places To See These Birds In Pennsylvania?

When it comes to seeing some of the largest birds in Pennsylvania, there are a few places you can look. Whether you’re interested in observing aquatic birds or soaring raptors, this state offers plenty of opportunities for bird watching enthusiasts. In this article, we’ll explore what areas offer the best chances of spotting these majestic creatures and how to make sure your experience is unforgettable.

To start off with, one great place to view large birds in Pennsylvania is along the coast at Presque Isle State Park. This area provides visitors with an up-close look at many species such as herons, cormorants, loons, and even bald eagles. Additionally, if you have access to a boat or kayak you can get right out onto Lake Erie for a truly unique view of these animals in their natural habitat. Another potential spot for viewing larger avian life is Hawk Mountain Sanctuary located near Kempton. Here, numerous raptors migrate through during fall months offering spectacular vistas from atop its iconic observation tower.

No matter which location you choose to observe these large birds from though, there are still certain steps that should be taken before beginning your journey. First off, be sure to bring appropriate attire as weather conditions can change quickly depending on where you go. Also remember to pack binoculars and/or a telescope so that you don’t miss any details while getting close enough without disturbing them too much. By following all necessary precautions and doing some research beforehand, viewers will be able to enjoy incredible sights of nature’s biggest flying marvels throughout Pennsylvania!

Are Any Of These Birds Endangered?

As the human population continues to grow, our actions are increasingly impacting animal populations around the world. One of the biggest questions we can ask is: Are any of these birds endangered?

It’s an important question that needs to be asked and answered. The answer really depends on where you live and which species of bird you’re talking about. Some birds may not even exist in certain areas; others could be threatened or endangered due to habitat loss or other factors.

In Pennsylvania, there is a variety of large birds, some of whom have been placed on state and federal protected lists because they are at risk for extinction. While this list changes over time, species like the Bald Eagle, American White Pelican, Whooping Crane, Trumpeter Swan, Red-headed Woodpecker, and Henslow’s Sparrow have all been listed as either threatened or endangered by authorities in recent years. It’s essential to know if these beautiful creatures are suffering so we can take immediate steps towards helping them recover their numbers before it’s too late.

What Is The Average Lifespan Of These Birds?

When it comes to the lifespan of birds, there is much variation in how long they can live. Some species may only live for a few years while others have been known to survive up to 20 or more. On average, most large birds like those found in Pennsylvania tend to live around 10-15 years:

  1. Bald Eagles typically live between 10-20 years.
  2. Wild Turkeys average about five years in the wild but are known to make it up to 12 if cared for properly.
  3. Great Horned Owls usually have lifespans of 8-12 years.

Of course, these are just averages and individual birds may outlive or not reach their expected lifetime depending on environmental factors and other risks they face. For example, many bird species are vulnerable due to increasing habitat loss caused by human activity which can drastically reduce their numbers over time as well as limit opportunities for mating and finding food sources. Thus, it’s important that we take steps towards conserving habitats so that our avian friends can continue living without threat of extinction for generations to come!

What Is The Average Wingspan Of These Birds?

From the earliest days of flight, birds have captivated us with their grace and power in soaring across the sky. Wingspan has been a vital factor in determining the success of most avian species; thus, it is no surprise that measuring this trait has become an integral part of research into bird biology. In modern times, what is the average wingspan of these majestic creatures?

The answer to this question depends largely on the type of bird being considered. Eagles, for example, are known for having some of the largest wingspans among all avian species; they can easily reach up to eight feet in width. On the other hand, smaller birds such as hummingbirds typically possess much shorter wingspans – usually under ten inches long. Even within each group there will be variation between different types and sizes of individual birds.

When it comes to Pennsylvania’s biggest feathered inhabitants, eagles tend to have larger than average wingspans compared to other states due to their ability to better survive northern winters. Specifically, Bald Eagles often measure around seven feet wide when fully grown while Golden Eagle wings may span close to nine feet in length! Of course other large birds like Cranes or Herons also call Pennsylvania home and boast impressive wing lengths too. All told, it seems safe to say that some truly impressive feats of flying await those who take time to explore our skies here in The Keystone State!

Are Any Of These Birds Migratory?

Migratory birds are a common feature in many ecosystems around the world. They provide essential ecological services and add beauty to an environment with their presence. So, it makes sense to ask: Are any of these birds migratory?

In Pennsylvania, several species of large birds have been recorded as being migratory. Bald Eagles, for example, migrate annually from Canada and northern U.S. states down into this region during the winter months. There is also evidence that Turkey Vultures and Ospreys will travel hundreds of miles each year between their summer nesting areas and wintering grounds elsewhere in North America. Swans, Cormorants and other waterfowl can also be seen making long journeys across the continent when they move seasonally between breeding grounds in the north and warmer climates further south.

Overall, it appears that a variety of large bird species native to Pennsylvania do exhibit some degree of seasonal migration behavior – although not all individuals within a given species may make such trips on a regular basis.


The birds of Pennsylvania are a true sight to behold. From the majestic Bald Eagle soaring through the sky, to the vibrant Scarlet Tanager perched atop the trees, it’s easy to be taken aback by their beauty and grace.
No matter where you look in Pennsylvania, there is always something new and exciting that these feathered friends have to offer. Whether they’re migrating south for winter or nesting near your backyard, it’s an experience unlike any other.
These incredible creatures not only captivate us with their size and majesty but also provide us with essential services like pollination and insect control – both of which help maintain our environment and keep nature balanced. With such an important role in our ecosystem, we must do all we can to protect them from becoming endangered species so future generations can continue to witness their grandeur.