Birds of Prey

Hawk flying
Red-tailed hawks are some of the most commonly seen birds of prey in Grand Canyon National Park.

Bryce Robinson

 
Birds of prey are some of the most commonly seen wildlife in Grand Canyon National Park. Ranging in size from the Northern pygmy owl (with a 15 inch/38cm wingspan) to the massive California condor (with a 9.5 foot/2.9m wingspan), birds of prey are the hawks, eagles, falcons, ospreys, owls, and vultures of the Grand Canyon. They are carnivores that use their keen vision to find food, and have powerful beaks for tearing flesh. Most hunt live prey: bald eagles and ospreys pull fish from the Colorado River, falcons hunt smaller birds, and hawks and golden eagles hunt mammals and reptiles on the ground. California condors and turkey vultures are scavengers that only feed on prey that is already dead.

While raptors are often commonly seen in the Canyon, many species are threatened or endangered. The California condor is one of the rarest birds in the world with fewer than 450 alive today. The peregrine falcon was once on the edge of extinction, but is now recovering across the world. For raptor species, both rare and common, the Grand Canyon is crucial habitat.

 
A condor perches beside her chick.
Condor 280 perches with her chick below the rim of the Grand Canyon.

NPS Todd Sexton

California Condor

One of the rarest birds in the world, the California condor is also the largest bird in North America. Still a critically endangered species, a population of wild condors live in and around the Grand Canyon.

 
Owl in a tree
Mexican spotted owl in a tree.

NPS

Mexican Spotted Owl

Mexican spotted owls are an endangered species that calls the Grand Canyon home. Until recently, there has been little research done on these owls within the park. Current research is helping park biologists understand and protect these rare birds.

 
Peregrine falcon perched.
Peregrine falcon perching with wings spread.

Scott Root, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

The fastest animal in the world- diving at speeds of 200 mph (320 kph)- the peregrine falcon was once on the brink of extinction. Thanks to conservation efforts in Grand Canyon National Park and across the country, peregrine falcons have recovered, and are now a common sight along the cliffs of the Grand Canyon.
 
Red-tailed hawk flying
Red-tailed hawk flying.

Jim Shuler, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Red-tailed Hawk

Probably the most common hawk in North America, the red-tailed hawk is one of the most common birds of prey seen in the Grand Canyon.

 
dark colored hawk
From a distance, zone-tails are often mistaken for turkey vultures.

NPS Robb Hannawacker

Zone-tail Hawk

Rarely seen in Northern Arizona 20 years ago, the range of the Zone-tail has expanded northward, and it is now a commonly seen bird in the Grand Canyon.

Last updated: May 18, 2016

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Mailing Address:

PO Box 129
Grand Canyon, AZ 86023

Phone:

(928) 638-7888

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