Birds of Prey
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.
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.
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.
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.
Last updated: May 18, 2016