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17 Big Birds That Live In New Jersey

New Jersey is home to a variety of bird species, including some of the largest and most majestic birds in the world. These big birds, ranging from great blue herons and bald eagles to ospreys and American white pelicans, are an impressive sight to behold.

With their powerful wingspans and elegant movements, they dominate the skies and waters of New Jersey, attracting birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts from all over the world.

In this article, we will explore some of the most impressive big birds in New Jersey and learn more about their characteristics, habits, and habitats.

Join us on a journey of discovery through the incredible world of big birds in the Garden State.

1. American Robin

American robin

The American robin is a migratory bird, belonging to the true thrush genus and Turdidae family.

It was named after its European counterpart due to the similar reddish-orange breast they both possess; however, they are not related closely.

This species can be seen through most of North America during winter months, as well as in parts of Mexico and Central America where it also breeds.

They have plump bodies with gray upperparts and white underparts that vary from yellow on their throats down to orange toward their bellies.

Robins feed on fruits such as berries or insects like worms which makes them an important part of ecosystems by helping disperse seeds naturally throughout these areas.Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Passeriformes
Family Turdidae
Genus Turdus
Species T. migratorius

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2. Common Loon

Common loon

The Common Loon is a beautiful bird found in North America. It has a large black head and neck, with a greenish to purple sheen that stands out against its dark grey upperparts.

The underparts are pure white except for some black on the undertail coverts and vent.

During non-breeding season adults have brown plumage instead of the bright shades they show during breeding season.

They also exhibit unique behaviors such as diving underwater to catch fish or swimming along lakeshores while calling loudly, which is how they got their name “great northern diver”.

With their stunning colors and interesting behavior, it’s no wonder why these birds make up an iconic part of many landscapes across North America.Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Gaviiformes
Family Gaviidae
Genus Gavia
Species G. immer

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3. Common Starling

Common starling

The Common Starling is a medium-sized passerine bird that belongs to the starling family. It has glossy black plumage with a metallic sheen, and in certain times of year it can be speckled with white.

The bill and legs are typically pink or black depending on the season, while its length measures about 8 inches long.

Its diet consists mainly of insects but also includes small fruits and seeds as well as some human food waste.

They live in large flocks which provides protection against predators, although they can become quite aggressive when defending their nesting sites during breeding seasons.

Overall, this species is highly adaptable and widely distributed across many parts of Europe making them one of the most successful birds in the region today.Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Passeriformes
Family Sturnidae
Genus Sturnus
Species S. vulgaris

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4. Great Horned Owl

Great horned owl

The Great Horned Owl is an impressive bird native to the Americas. It is well-known for its wide range and adaptability, as it can be found in many different habitats across the continent.

Its diet consists primarily of rabbits, hares, rats and mice; however, they are also known to consume skunks, geese and other birds too.

With their powerful talons capable of crushing prey with ease, these owls have earned themselves a fearsome reputation due to their incredible strength.

Their iconic horn-like tufts on either side of its head add another layer of intimidation which helps them stand out from other owls in the area.Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Strigiformes
Family Strigidae
Genus Bubo
Species B. virginianus

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5. Osprey


The Osprey is a majestic bird of prey with an incredibly wide habitat range. It has distinctive brown upperparts and greyish head and underparts, making it easily identifiable in the skies above many regions across the world.

With a wingspan of up to 180cm (71in) and body length reaching 60cm (24in), this large raptor specializes in hunting for fish, soaring high over rivers as well as coasts searching for its next meal.

Despite living near water sources, they can also be found inhabiting mountainsides or even woodlands, proving their incredible adaptability. An impressive species that truly deserves admiration.Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Accipitriformes
Family Pandionidae
Genus Pandion
Species P. haliaetus

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6. American White Ibis

American white ibis

The American white ibis is a medium-sized bird with an overall white plumage and long legs. It has a bright red-orange downward curved bill, and black wing tips that are usually only visible in flight.

This species of ibis can be found from Virginia south through most of the coastal New World tropics.

They have been known to inhabit marshes, swamps, ponds, lakeshores as well as mangrove forests near water sources where they feed on crustaceans such as crabs and shrimp among other aquatic animals like insects or snails.

The American white ibis plays an important role in its ecosystem by helping to control insect populations which helps maintain balance within these environments.Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Pelecaniformes
Family Threskiornithidae
Genus Eudocimus
Species E. albus

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7. Anseriformes


Anseriformes are a group of waterfowl birds that includes ducks, geese and swans. With over 180 living species in three families, these birds have adapted to live an aquatic life with great skill.

They can be found near lakes or rivers foraging for food along the shoreline or diving underwater pursuing prey like fish and mollusks.

Their long legs help them move through deeper waters as they swim gracefully across the surface looking for food.

Anhimidae (screamers) often utilize their sharp voices to communicate with each other while Anatidae use bill-dipping displays when courting potential mates during mating season. These beautiful birds will never cease to amaze us.Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Clade Anserimorphae
Order Anseriformes Wagler, 1831

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8. Northern Goshawk

Northern goshawk

The Northern Goshawk is a medium-large bird of prey belonging to the Accipitridae family. It has been known as one of the true hawks, with “Accipiter” meaning hawk in Latin and “gentilis” referring to its noble characteristics.

They are found worldwide, most commonly in wooded areas such as forests or thickets where they hunt small birds and mammals.

The males have spotted grey upperparts while females tend to be fully brown above with some lighter barring on their underparts.

These raptors rely heavily on speed and agility when hunting from either perches or during aerial dives at high speeds for their prey which makes them formidable predators that can reach up to 40 mph.Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Accipitriformes
Family Accipitridae
Genus Accipiter
Species A. gentilis

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9. Cormorants


Cormorants are a family of aquatic birds found around the world. They include 40 species, such as great cormorants and common shags.

In Britain, these two species are the most commonly seen in their natural habitats.

Cormorants have long necks, webbed feet and can be identified by their glossy black feathers which they use to help them swim through water with ease as they hunt for food like fish or crustaceans.

They have an impressive wingspan often reaching up to five feet across when fully extended.

Despite being strong swimmers, these birds also enjoy spending time perched on rocks near rivers or shorelines where they will preen themselves in order to keep clean and dry during cooler weather conditionsScientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Suliformes
Family Phalacrocoracidae Reichenbach, 1850

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10. Great Egret

Great egret

The Great Egret is a large, white bird found in many regions of the world. It has four subspecies that reside across Asia, Africa, Americas and southern Europe.

This species usually lives near bodies of water such as lakes and marshes. They are also now starting to spread into more northern areas of Europe due to climate change.

These birds have long yellow legs with an impressive wingspan for their size which allows them to soar majestically through the sky hunting for fish or amphibians in shallow waters below.

Their feathers have been used historically by Native Americans as part of traditional garments or ceremonies but this practice should be avoided today so these amazing creatures can thrive without harm from humans.Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Pelecaniformes
Family Ardeidae
Genus Ardea
Species A. alba

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11. Sandhill Crane

Sandhill crane

Sandhill Cranes are a large species of crane native to North America and northeastern Siberia. They are known for their distinctive calls, long legs, and long necks.

These birds typically inhabit wetland areas like the Platte River in Nebraska’s Sandhills on the Great Plains.

In Central Florida, they often gather at the edges of bodies of water such as lakes or rivers.

During breeding season, sandhill cranes can be seen performing elaborate courtship dances that involve bowing and jumping in unison with their partner.

Their diet consists mainly of plant material including grains, roots, tubers and aquatic plants which they obtain by pecking or digging into mudflats using their bill or feet respectively.

With an average lifespan between 10-20 years these majestic creatures make great additions to any wetland habitat.Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Gruiformes
Family Gruidae
Genus Antigone
Species A. canadensis

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12. Red-Tailed Hawk

Red-tailed hawk

The Red-tailed Hawk is a majestic bird of prey with its distinctive red tail. It can be found throughout North America, from Alaska in the north to Panama and the West Indies in the south.

This species belongs to Buteo genus, which makes it one of most common raptors on earth.

These hawks mainly hunt small mammals such as rabbits or squirrels but also feed on reptiles and birds during migration season.

Unlike other predator birds, they prefer open areas for hunting like fields or grasslands rather than dense forests.

They build their nests high up on trees where they stay all year long unless disturbed by humans or animals nearby.

Their presence has become an iconic part of American culture due to their frequent sightings around homes and parks alike making them beloved creatures among people everywhere.Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Accipitriformes
Family Accipitridae
Genus Buteo
Species B. jamaicensis

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13. Snowy Egret

Snowy egret

The Snowy Egret is a small white heron native to North America. Its scientific name, Egretta thula, comes from Provençal French for the little egret and an incorrect reference to the Black-necked Swan by Chilean naturalist Juan Ignacio Molina in 1782.

This beautiful bird has black legs with yellow feet, and a long plume of feathers on its head that often appears as if it’s wearing a crown.

It feeds primarily on insects and aquatic life like fish or frogs making it well adapted for both wetland habitats such as marshes or swamps plus coastal areas close to shorelines.

With their graceful movements they are truly delightful creatures to observe while out exploring nature.Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Pelecaniformes
Family Ardeidae
Genus Egretta
Species E. thula

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14. Rough-Legged Buzzard

Rough-legged buzzard

The Rough-legged Buzzard, also known as the Rough-legged Hawk, is a medium to large bird of prey that inhabits Arctic and Subarctic regions in North America, Europe and Russia.

It migrates south during winter. These majestic birds build their nests on cliffs or other rocky ledges making them difficult to spot from afar.

Their plumage can be either dark brown or light with barred underparts and a white head – depending on seasonality.

They have long wings which helps them cover incredible distances while migrating but they are by no means fast flyers – preferring instead soaring flight patterns where possible.

The primary diet for these raptors consists of small rodents such as voles and lemmings however they will take larger prey if needed (such as grouse).Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Accipitriformes
Family Accipitridae
Genus Buteo
Species B. lagopus

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15. Willet


The Willet is a large and robust bird of the Scolopacidae family. It belongs to genus Tringa and it is much larger than its closest relative – lesser yellowlegs, which can be easily distinguished by its fine neck pattern.

The willet has brown upperparts with white patches on wings along with grey underparts. Its bill is thick, long and straight in shape having black coloration at tip while legs are also long but greenish-grey in colour.

They feed mainly on insects, worms or crustaceans that they find near coastal waters or wetlands as well as grains or seeds when available during winters.Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Charadriiformes
Family Scolopacidae
Genus Tringa
Species T. semipalmata

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16. Bufflehead


The Bufflehead bird is a small sea duck belonging to the goldeneyes genus. It was first described in 1758 by Carl Linnaeus, and its scientific name is Bucephala albeola.

The name “Bucephala” comes from the Greek words for “bull-headed,” which refers to its oddly shaped, bulbous head.

These birds are known for their striking black and white plumage, with the males sporting distinctive iridescent green and purple feathers on their heads.

Buffleheads are found primarily in North America, spending their winters on coastal waters and migrating inland to breed in wooded areas.

They are skilled divers and feed primarily on insects and small crustaceans. Despite their small size, Buffleheads are hardy birds and can survive in extreme weather conditions.Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Anseriformes
Family Anatidae
Genus Bucephala
Species B. albeola

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17. Northern Flicker

Northern flicker

The Northern flicker is a woodpecker species found in North America, Central America, Cuba, and the Cayman Islands. This medium-sized bird is known for its unique migration behavior.

Over 100 common names are used to refer to the Northern flicker, one of them being “yellowhammer”. It is a beautiful bird with distinctive markings and a colorful plumage.

The Northern flicker is an important species in its ecosystem and plays a key role in maintaining a healthy balance in the environment.

Despite being a woodpecker, the Northern flicker has a diverse diet that includes insects, fruits, and seeds.

It is fascinating to observe this bird as it pecks at trees in search of food, communicates with its unique vocalizations and performs its incredible aerial displays.

The Northern flicker is truly a remarkable bird species that is worthy of our admiration and protection.Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Piciformes
Family Picidae
Genus Colaptes
Species C. auratus

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