New Hampshire is known for its diverse bird population, and among them are some of the largest birds found in North America.
These majestic birds are a remarkable sight to behold, boasting impressive wingspans and powerful beaks, and their presence in the state adds to its beauty and rich wildlife.
In this article, we will explore some of the magnificent large birds that can be found in New Hampshire, including eagles, hawks, and owls, and learn about their fascinating characteristics and behaviors.
So let’s dive into the world of these soaring creatures and discover more about their natural history and importance in New Hampshire’s ecosystem.
1. 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:
2. 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:
3. 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:
4. White-Breasted Nuthatch
The White-breasted Nuthatch is a medium-sized bird belonging to the nuthatch family Sittidae. It measures around 15.5 cm in length and its colour varies throughout its range.
Males have a light blue-grey upperpart, with black crown and nape whereas females have a dark grey crown instead of black one.
The underparts are whitish, with reddish tinge on sides and flanks while the bill is short and stout with pale base near eyes which can be yellow or white depending upon geographic location..
This species feeds mainly on insects but will also eat seeds, nuts and berries when available.
They prefer open woodlands where they often climb trees searching for food along trunks as well as branches underneath bark crevices creating their nest there too.Scientific classification:
5. American Wigeon
The American Wigeon, also known as the Baldpate, is a species of dabbling duck found throughout North America.
It closely resembles its Eurasian counterpart and was formally described in 1789 by German naturalist Johann Friedrich Gmelin.
This medium-sized bird has an overall grey body with white feathers on its face and belly that give it a distinctive bald appearance.
Its wings are brownish black with green speculum markings on them while the tail is dark brown or black at the base and gradually lightens near tips to become chestnut colored.
The male wigeons have purple patches on their heads during breeding season along with yellow eyes which helps differentiate them from females who have duller colors around their faces instead of bright ones like males possess.Scientific classification:
6. Belted Kingfisher
The belted kingfisher is a large, eye-catching bird native to North America. It belongs to the family Alcedinidae and has been divided into three subfamilies by recent research.
The species was first described in 1758 by Carl Linnaeus in his Systema Naturae.
This water Kingfisher stands out for its size as well as its striking plumage; males are bright blue on top with white below and females have rusty brown backs and wings with a thick black breast band across their chest.
They also possess an impressive call which can be heard from quite far away.
Belted kingfishers feed mainly on small fish but will sometimes also eat crustaceans, insects or even amphibians if they come across them while hunting around rivers or streams.
All in all, this is truly one remarkable bird that deserves our admiration.Scientific classification:
7. Barred Owl
The Barred Owl is a large species of owl native to eastern North America. It belongs to the genus Strix, which is part of the true owl family Strigidae.
These beautiful birds are mainly brown with distinct stripes on their bodies and wings. Its face has dark eyes, a white chin patch and two black bars across its yellow-brownish beak, giving it an intimidating appearance.
The barred owls have powerful talons that they use for hunting small mammals like mice and voles as well as other animals such as fish, amphibians or insects.
They also rely heavily on hearing when looking for prey in low light conditions.
With their amazing camouflage abilities these birds can often remain undetected while observing potential threats from predators – making them highly successful hunters.Scientific classification:
8. 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:
9. 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:
10. White-Throated Sparrow
The White-throated Sparrow is a small passerine bird of the New World sparrow family Passerellidae.
It has distinctive yellow and black stripes on its head, white throat and chest with grey back and wings, along with light brown legs.
The scientific name “Zonotrichia albicollis” comes from Ancient Greek for ‘band’ (ζώνη) referring to its distinctive striped crown, and Latin for ‘white neck’ (albus collum).
These birds are usually found in wooded areas such as coniferous forests or deciduous habitats in North America where they feed mainly on insects during summer months; transitioning to seeds during winter.
They build their nests near ground level using grasses, twigs or moss lined with feathers.
White-throated Sparrows may be solitary but also form flocks when migrating southward each fall season which typically occurs over mid-late October through November depending on location within range.Scientific classification:
11. Great Blue Heron
The Great Blue Heron is a majestic wading bird found in many parts of North America, Central America, the Caribbean and even as far away as the Galapagos Islands.
It has an impressive wingspan which can reach up to six feet wide. Its feathers are mainly bluish-gray with brownish streaks on both its neck and chest while its head displays white plumes.
The adult herons can also be identified by their yellow bill and legs.
They live near bodies of water such as lakes, marshes or rivers where they feed on fish using a spear like motion with their sharp bills.
An all-white population exists only in south Florida and the Florida Keys making it quite unique.Scientific classification:
12. Pileated Woodpecker
The pileated woodpecker is a large, majestic bird native to North America.
Its striking black plumage and red crest make it an unmistakeable sight in the forest canopy of deciduous forests across eastern North America, Great Lakes region, Canada’s boreal forests, and parts of the Pacific Coast.
It is one of the largest woodpeckers in North America: larger than any other confirmed species except for perhaps its relative; the ivory-billed woodpecker.
Insectivorous by nature, this stunning creature can be seen pecking away at tree trunks searching for food or making nest cavities – all with remarkable skill.
The pileated woodpecker truly stands out as a symbol of beauty and resilience amongst our avian wildlife.Scientific classification:
13. 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:
14. 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:
15. Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
The ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) is a species of hummingbird that has an impressive migration pattern, spending the winter in Central America, Mexico and Florida before flying to Canada and other parts of Eastern North America for breeding season.
It’s by far the most common type seen east of the Mississippi River in North America.
Formally described by Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus in 1758, this tiny bird has bright metallic green upperparts with white underparts, a small black bill and a red throat patch which gives it its name; they measure around 3 inches long on average.
They feed primarily on nectar from flowers but also eat insects such as flies or mosquitoes for extra protein during their migrations or when raising young chicks.Scientific classification:
16. 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:
17. Sharp-Shinned Hawk
The Sharp-shinned Hawk is a small hawk found throughout the United States and Canada. It is one of the smallest hawks in North America, but larger than some Neotropical species such as the tiny hawk.
Taxonomy of this bird remains uncertain; with some authorities suggesting that southern taxa may represent three distinct species: white-breasted hawk (A. chionogaster), plain-breasted hawk (A. ventralis) and rufous morph sharp-shinnedhawk(A. rufiventris).
These birds feed primarily on small birds like finches, sparrows, woodpeckers and warblers while hunting from perches or by flying through dense vegetation to surprise unsuspecting prey items.
They are agile flyers that rely heavily on surprise to capture their food items quickly before they can fly away.Scientific classification:
18. 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:
19. Wood Duck
The wood duck, also known as the Carolina Duck, is a species of perching duck native to North America. It is renowned for its beautiful plumage and vibrant colors.
On average, an adult wood duck stands at 19-21 inches in length with a wingspan ranging from 26 to 29 inches. Its weight typically falls between 454–800 grams depending on gender and seasonality.
This medium-sized bird can be seen swimming or perched atop branches near bodies of water like lakes, ponds and rivers – where it feeds mostly on aquatic plants and insects.
The female builds nests inside cavities in trees close to these waters while the male protects her eggs during incubation period until they hatch into adorable little chicks.
Wood ducks are beloved by many due their stunning looks which make them popular subjects among photographers too.Scientific classification:
20. 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: