10 Types Of Hawks In Minnesota Best Birds advice

10 Types Of Hawks In Minnesota

In Minnesota, there are ten types of hawks. These include the red-tailed hawk, northern harpy eagle, Cooper’s hawk, eastern screech owl, western screech owl, northern goshawk, broad-winged hawk, American kestrel, and Merlins. Each hawk is unique in its markings and habits.

Minnesota is home to a variety of hawks that can be found throughout the state. These majestic birds are often seen soaring high in the sky, scanning for prey with their sharp eyesight.

There are 10 different types of hawks that call Minnesota home, each with its own unique characteristics and habits.

The most common hawk in Minnesota is the red-tailed hawk. This large bird can be identified by its reddish-brown tail feathers and broad wingspan, which can reach up to four feet across.

The red-tailed hawk is a skilled hunter and can often be observed perched on telephone poles or other high points, scanning the ground for prey such as rodents or rabbits.

Another type of hawk found in Minnesota is the Cooper’s hawk. This bird has a slate-gray back and wings, with a distinctive rust-colored breast band.

Red-Tailed Hawk


Red-tailed hawks are one of the most common and recognizable birds of prey in Minnesota. These majestic creatures can be found soaring through the skies above open fields and forests, patiently scanning the ground for their next meal.

With their distinctive red tails and broad wingspans, they are a sight to behold for any nature enthusiast.

As apex predators, red-tailed hawks play an important role in maintaining the balance of ecosystems across Minnesota. They feed on a variety of small animals such as rodents, rabbits, snakes, and even other birds. Their sharp talons and powerful beaks allow them to hunt with incredible precision and efficiency.

Despite being a common sight throughout Minnesota’s rural areas, red-tailed hawks have faced challenges in recent years due to habitat loss and human interference.

Ferruginous Hawk


The Ferruginous Hawk is a large bird of prey that can be found in Minnesota. It is one of the largest hawks in North America, with a wingspan of up to 4 feet.

These majestic birds are known for their distinctive rust-colored feathers on their back and wings, which give them their name – ferruginous means “rusty” in Latin.

Hawks are a common sight in Minnesota and play an important role in the ecosystem. They help to control rodent populations by hunting mice, voles, and other small mammals.

The Ferruginous Hawk is particularly well-suited for this task due to its size and strength; it has been known to take down prey as large as rabbits and ground squirrels.

Despite their importance, hawks face many threats in Minnesota such as habitat loss and human interference.

Rough-Legged Hawk


The Rough-legged Hawk is a majestic bird of prey that can be found in the state of Minnesota. These birds are known for their impressive wingspan, which can reach up to 54 inches, and their unique feather patterns.

They are also commonly referred to as “buzzard hawks” due to their hawk-like appearance and behavior.

Rough-legged Hawks are a migratory species that travel from the Arctic tundra down to the lower 48 states during the winter months. They prefer open areas such as grasslands, prairies, and marshes where they hunt small mammals like rodents and rabbits.

These birds have keen eyesight which allows them to spot prey from high above. Once they spot their target, they quickly dive towards it with incredible speed.

In Minnesota, there are several places where you can observe these remarkable creatures in action.

Northern Harrier


The Northern Harrier is a hawk species that can be found in Minnesota. This bird of prey primarily feeds on small mammals, such as voles and mice, which they catch by flying low over the ground.

The Northern Harrier is also known for its distinctive flight style, where it glides with wings held up in a dihedral shape.

One of the unique features of this species is the difference in appearance between males and females. Male Northern Harriers have a pale gray coloration with black wingtips, while females are brown with streaked underparts.

This sexual dimorphism makes it easier to identify these hawks in the field.

In Minnesota, the Northern Harrier can be seen year-round but is most commonly sighted during their breeding season from March to September. They typically nest on the ground or low shrubs in open fields or wetlands.

Northern Goshawk


The Northern Goshawk is a large and powerful bird of prey that can be found in the forests of Minnesota. These hawks are known for their speed, agility, and sharp talons that make them formidable hunters.

With their keen eyesight and incredible flying skills, these birds are able to catch prey such as squirrels, rabbits, and even other birds mid-flight.

Hawks in Minnesota are an important part of the state’s ecosystem. They play a crucial role in controlling pest populations and maintaining balance within the food chain.

The Northern Goshawk is one of the many species of hawks that call Minnesota home. Although they can be difficult to spot due to their elusive nature, these magnificent birds are worth looking out for on your next trip into the woods.

In recent years, there have been concerns about the declining population of hawks in Minnesota due to habitat loss and climate change.

Broad-Winged Hawk


The Broad-winged Hawk is a common raptor species found in Minnesota. These birds of prey are known for their sharp talons, keen eyesight, and impressive flight skills. They are medium-sized hawks with a wingspan of up to 37 inches and can weigh between 9 to 20 ounces.

Broad-winged Hawks breed in the forests of Minnesota during the summer months before migrating south in the winter.

During migration season, they can be spotted soaring high over open areas such as fields, lakeshores, and river valleys. Their diet consists of small mammals like mice, voles, and chipmunks as well as reptiles and insects.

The population of Broad-winged Hawks in Minnesota has remained relatively stable over the years due to conservation efforts by wildlife agencies. However, habitat loss remains a threat to these majestic creatures.

Red-Shouldered Hawk


The Red-Shouldered Hawk is a bird of prey that can be found in Minnesota. This hawk is known for its distinct reddish-brown shoulders and wings, which make it easy to spot in the wild.

The Red-Shouldered Hawk is a medium-sized bird, with an average length of 17-24 inches, and a wingspan of around 3 feet.

Red-Shouldered Hawks are commonly seen perched on tree branches or soaring high above the treetops in search of prey. They have keen eyesight and can spot their prey from great distances.

In Minnesota, they feed on small mammals like mice, voles, and shrews as well as reptiles and amphibians such as snakes and frogs.

The Red-Shouldered Hawk population has been declining due to habitat loss caused by urban development and deforestation.

Cooper’s Hawk


Cooper’s Hawk is a beautiful and majestic bird of prey that can be found in Minnesota. These hawks are known for their agile flying skills, sharp talons, and keen eyesight. They are also notorious for being skilled hunters and feeding on smaller birds.

In Minnesota, Cooper’s Hawks typically nest in forested areas with tall trees where they can perch and hunt.

They are commonly spotted during the breeding season from March to July when they fly overhead searching for prey or performing aerial displays to attract a mate.

During the winter months, these hawks migrate south to warmer climates but return to Minnesota during spring.

Despite their hunting abilities, Cooper’s Hawks face threats such as habitat loss due to deforestation and human activities like urbanization. However, conservation efforts have been put in place to protect these magnificent birds including creating protected habitats and educating people about the importance of preserving wildlife populations.

Sharp-Shinned Hawk


Sharp-Shinned Hawks are one of the most common raptors in Minnesota, known for their agility and sharp talons.

These birds of prey have adapted well to urban areas, often seen flying through backyards and parks in search of small mammals and songbirds. The Sharp-Shinned Hawk is a fierce predator that can take down prey much larger than itself.

These hawks are small and agile, with a wingspan of only 20-27 inches. They have short, broad wings that allow them to maneuver quickly through dense foliage while hunting or chasing their prey.

Their long legs and sharp talons make them effective hunters on the ground as well as in the air.

Sharp-shinned hawks can be identified by their slate blue-grey backs, white underparts with reddish bars on their chests, and distinctive red eyes.

Swainson’s Hawk


Swainson’s Hawk is a beautiful bird of prey that can be found in Minnesota. These hawks are known for their large size, impressive wingspan, and unique coloration.

They are a popular sight among bird watchers and nature enthusiasts who flock to the area to catch a glimpse of these majestic creatures.

Hawks in Minnesota have been on the decline due to habitat loss and other human-related factors. However, Swainson’s Hawks appear to be holding steady in numbers, thanks in part to conservation efforts aimed at protecting their nesting sites and food sources.

With its distinctive markings and impressive aerial acrobatics, the Swainson’s Hawk is an important part of Minnesota’s ecosystem and a symbol of strength and resilience in the face of environmental challenges.

If you’re interested in learning more about hawks or wildlife conservation efforts in Minnesota, there are many resources available online or through local organizations.


There are ten types of hawks that can be found in Minnesota. These include the American kestrel, northern goshawk, red-tailed hawk, Cooper’s hawk, bald eagle, northern Harpy’s eagle, barred owl, great horned owl, and golden eagle. All of these raptors are important for the ecosystem and should be conserved for future generations.

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