7 Types of Hawks in New York

Types of Hawks in New York
Photo by Joseph Rivera Hamm on Unsplash

New York State hosts an impressive variety of hawks and is home to several species of the northern and warmer climate subspecies.

Some types of hawks in New York region include Red-Tailed Hawks, Cooper’s Hawks, American Kestrels, Peregrines, Osprey, and Short-eared Owls.

These types of hawks in New York feed on various species, such as rodents, reptiles, fish, and birds.

They are important to our ecosystems’ health as they help control populations of small mammals and can be observed flying high above open fields, searching for prey.

Let’s go! 

1. Northern Harrier

Northern Harrier
by USFWS Mountain Prairie is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Northern Harrier is starting our list of types of hawks in New York and an important type of hawk found in New York.

These birds of prey inhabit the grasslands and wetlands of the state, preying on small mammals while soaring gracefully above these areas.

Here are two paragraphs about the Northern Harrier and why it is significant to its New York habitat.

    The Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus) is a unique hawk relatively common in New York.

    They range throughout most of North America; in wetland habitats, they hunt by “quartering,” flying close to the ground while searching for small mammals such as mice or voles.

    They have long wings with a large white rump patch, making them easy to identify from other hawks. 

    Their presence also helps local ecosystems maintain balance by keeping rodent populations in check.

    This makes these types of hawks in New York incredibly beneficial for farmers and landowners whose crops can often be damaged by large numbers of rodents. 

    The Northern Harrier also plays an important role aesthetically with their spectacular aerial courtship displays, providing beauty to the landscape during certain times of the year.

    Overall, the Northern Harrier is an important member of the natural web for many parts of New York and helps ensure our environment remains healthy and diverse for future generations.

    2. Red-tailed Hawk

    Red-tailed Hawk
    by Becky Matsubara is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    The Red-tailed Hawk is also on our list of types of hawks in New York.

    This hawk is the most widespread hawk species in North America and can be easily identified by its reddish-brown colored tail and distinctive markings. It feeds on small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and insects in the wild. 

    These types of hawks in New York prefer to nest in woodlands, which shelter them from bad weather and abundant food sources.

    Red-tailed Hawks are commonly seen soaring or perched atop telephone or power poles, scanning their surroundings for prey.

    They have become iconic birds across New York due to their beautiful appearance and hunting prowess.

      3. Cooper’s Hawk

      Cooper's Hawk
      by Scooter Lowrimore is licensed under CC BY 2.0

      The Cooper’s Hawk is an iconic hawk species in the Northeastern United States, with a range extending from New Hampshire in the north to Georgia in the south.

      They are medium-sized hawks with a square-shaped tail, dark gray upper parts, and streaked red and orange chests.

      They primarily hunt small birds, such as doves, grouse, and woodpeckers, but also prey on other small mammals like mice or squirrels. 

      Cooper’s hawks make their nests high off the ground, sometimes as high as 50 feet in mature trees near open areas like roadsides and fields.

      They will also build their nests in residential neighborhoods if enough trees offer proper cover. 

      Although not strictly migratory birds, they make relatively short movements within their summer grounds during the colder winter.

      Despite recent population increases across its range in North America, Cooper’s hawks remain vulnerable to threats like habitat destruction and vehicle collisions.

      4. Broad-Winged Hawk

      Broad-winged Hawk
      by Allan Hopkins is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

      Broad-winged hawks are a species of hawk found in New York State.

      They are known for their vibrant and distinctive color patterns, with dark brown upper parts and pale, white spotted undersides.

      These types of hawks in New York often hunt in wooded areas and prefer open fields. 

      While they can be commonly seen throughout most of the year in the Empire State, they migrate south during the cooler months.

      Broad-winged Hawks are around 40 cm long and have a wingspan of 80–102 cm (31–40 inches). 

      Adult types of hawks in New York have brown backs, pale gray throats, and light breasts with reddish bars across them.

      Their details are barred grayish-white. The Broad-wing Hawks feed on reptiles, rodents, invertebrates, and large insects such as grasshoppers and cicadas.

      The hawks like to soar above forests or in open fields where their food is abundant, so it is also very important to maintain these habitats to ensure that this species will stay healthy in the future. 

      During migration season, from late August to early October, thousands of Broad-Winged Hawks pass through New York on their way south for the winter rather than nesting here for the season.

      At this time, enormous kettles can sometimes be seen soaring high above treetops using thermal updrafts to ride them south when the wind is too weak to fly under power alone!

      That said, many individuals remain seasonally present through December before leaving later in winter. 

      In summary: Broad-winged Hawk is a type of hawk found all over New York state most times throughout the year, with numbers declining during winter when migration occurs towards more southern locations.

      This species has distinctive-looking features, including dark brown feathers on its back, while the chest bears reddish markings running across its body.

      It likes hunting for prey in open fields or forests, usually preying upon reptiles, rodents, and insects such as grasshoppers or cicadas, which helps regulate unwanted pest populations.

      5. Northern Goshawk

      Northern Goshawk
      by Derek Keats is licensed under CC BY 2.0

      The Northern Goshawk is one of the most impressive types of hawks in New York State.

      It is medium-sized with a slate gray head, white underbelly, and rufous chest and tail. These hawks’ colors are perfect camouflage while they patrol forests searching for food. 

      Northern Goshawks are territorial hawks in New York, usually living alone or in pairs.

      They feed mostly on medium-sized ground mammals such as rabbits, hares, and squirrels but also take birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects. 

      The northern goshawk can be seen flying low over conifer forests during migration season or soaring above the canopy year-round, looking for prey.

      Its call is a harsh scream that may last several seconds and can often be heard echoing through woodlands or along ridgelines, making it easy to identify.

      Northern goshawks are a beloved sight in upstate New York with their stunning beauty and impressive hunting skills!

      6. Osprey

      by U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Northeast Region is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

      Ospreys, commonly referred to as fish hawks, are next on our list of types of hawks in New York and a  species of hawks found all over the US, most commonly in New York.

      These raptors partake in annual migrations from the north down to coastal areas and wetlands of warmer climates to breed.

      Ospreys have unique physical attributes and habits that allow them to thrive in their preferred habitat. 

      Ospreys have broad wings, which enable them to soar at high altitudes while hunting for meals.

      They typically hunt mid-morning, as they prefer calm weather conditions or light winds that allow easy flying without too much effort. 

      Ospreys have sharp talons with backward-pointing scales, allowing them a better grip on slippery prey such as fish and other aquatic creatures.

      Their vision is especially well-developed, allowing them to spot prey from up high, even when flying over bright sunlight reflecting off the water. 

      Another fascinating trait about ospreys is their ability to recuperate feathers after molting and regrowing lost tips of flight feathers due to wear during compulsory migration or food acquisition activities.

      Osprey’s nesting behavior is incredibly interesting, with the male taking care of nest-building responsibilities while the female usually keeps an eye out for predators during incubation periods. 

      During this time, both gender members equally participate in feeding their young and protecting the nest from intruders such as raccoons and swallows who may try to steal their catch or snatch away newly hatched chicks who still haven’t learned how to hunt on their own yet.

      Learning these details about osprey life cycles makes it clear why conservation efforts are necessary throughout all landscapes if we want these types of hawks in New York to continue prospering across our planet for years.

      7. Red-shouldered Hawk

      Red-shouldered Hawk
      by Judy Gallagher is licensed under CC BY 2.0

      The Red-shouldered Hawk is a bird of prey found in the Northeastern part of North America and parts of the Southeastern United States.

      It has adapted to urban areas such as New York City, where it can hunt for songbirds and small mammals around buildings, parks, and yards. 

      This hawk is significant because it is an indicator species; its numbers decline with disturbances like cutting down forests.

      It has beautiful reddish-brown upper wings and a gray head with white patches on either face.

      Its call is loud and distinctive, with cackles, whistles, and twitters. In New York City, the red-shouldered hawk migrates south in the winter months and returns in late March or April when the weather begins to warm up again.


      So, that’s it! We have explicitly explained and described the various types of hawks in New York.

      As beautiful as New York, it also has beautiful birds, including hawks, as discussed in the list above.

      So when you next visit this amazing state, do not forget to check out these awesome varieties of birds! All the best!

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