5 of the Largest Birds of Prey From Canada

Updated on February 7, 2019
5 Largest Birds in Canada
5 Largest Birds in Canada

I heard a story a couple of months ago that amazed me. It was a true story, those are the best ones, about an eagle. This story takes place in Vancouver somewhere. It was rumoured that there were bald eagles that would swoop down and grab a small dog or cat. This friend of mine that told me the story said that it was commonplace for small dogs and cats to go missing and it was always thought that these animals were being taken by someone. No one could figure out the mystery. Until one day, someone happened to find the nesting ground of a bald eagle and found it full of dog tags and bones. Quite interesting indeed!

The Bald Eagle

The bald eagle is the largest bird of prey, weighing around 7 kgs and measuring from wing to wing, a span of over 2 meters long. Females tend to be slightly larger than males on average, and the bald eagles in the north are larger than the southern eagles found in the United States.

Bald eagles have large beaks that they use for tearing apart their prey. They also use their large talons and feet ridged with small spikes, called spicules, to grab their prey. They feast on fish, aquatic birds, small mammals, and even dead carcasses if they are hungry. They have also been known to steal away food from other birds and scavenge when necessary, which is most common with the juvenile eagles.

Bald eagles live mainly in British Columbia, Canada but can also be found in northern parts of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and northwestern Ontario. They can also be found in smaller groups in Cape Breton and along the Newfoundland coast. In the United States, the bald eagle nests still in more than half of all the states. Unfortunately, the bald eagle has become endangered in 48 states in the United States and in parts of Southern Ontario and New Brunswick.

The Red-tailed Hawk
The Red-tailed Hawk

The Red-tailed Hawk

The red-tailed hawk is a beautiful and majestic looking bird. The hawk, from below, looks as though he has a red, fanned tail and appears to be gliding. The male's wingspan averages 125 cm long, while the females are twenty-five percent larger. A male weighs in at 1300 grams while the female can weigh up to 2000 grams. He is called the red-tailed hawk because of the red tail seen from below while he is in flight.

The red-tailed hawk is a carnivore and feasts on small prey like rodents of all kinds such as mice, chipmunks, rats, and moles but will also eat rabbits, snakes, bats and waterfowl. He can be seen swooping around pursuing his prey circling from above and using his keen eyesight to his advantage.

His hooked beak helps him to pull apart his prey for his meal, along with his sharp talons, that grip and have captured the meal.

The red-tailed hawk is found all over North America and can live in various climates including deserts, tropical rainforests, coniferous forests, deciduous forests and even in urban areas. It is legally protected in Canada, the United States, and Mexico by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The red-tailed hawk is also considered sacred by some Native Americans.

The Turkey Vulture
The Turkey Vulture

The Turkey Vulture

The turkey vulture is one of those ugly birds that you often see at the side of the road feasting on road kill. The typical male has a wingspan of 183 cm long and weighs 1.4 kg with the females being slightly larger. The adult's head appears to be much smaller in proportion to the rest of his body and is red in colour. He also has a short hooked beak with perforated nostrils. Although they have large feet, they are not equipped to grab or grip as they are not sharp enough for this. It takes a lot of effort for the turkey vulture to fly, he flaps his wings at lift off while hopping with his feet, when he takes off he leaves his wings out and appears to soar, tipping from side to side.

He feeds mainly on a wide variety of carrion, while preferring those that have just died. They rarely eat vegetation but have been known to eat on occasion shoreline vegetation, pumpkin, and other crops. They also will eat fish that are dead and have washed up onto the shore. They generally fly low to the ground in search of food and use their keen smell to pick up the scent of ethyl mercaptan, a gas produced by caused by decay.

The turkey vulture is found living in the southern areas of Canada and spans down to the southern tip of South America. He inhabits subtropical forests, pasture lands, shrublands, and deserts.

The Wild Turkey

The wild turkey is not a part of the traditional Thanksgiving meal although comes from the same family as the domestic turkey. Adult wild turkeys have black bodies and a long fanned tail and appears to have a hunched back. The male is much larger than the female in comparison, with the male being 5-11kg and the female is 3-5.4 kg. The wingspan ranges from 1.25 meters to 1.44 meters in length. The largest wild turkey recorded by the National Wild Turkey Federation was 38lbs or 17.2 kg.

These beasts are omnivorous, and will forage on the ground and climb small trees to eat. They feast on nuts, acorns, berries, seeds, roots, insects, and even small reptiles such as snakes and lizards. They have also been known to eat different types of grasses and in rare cases will visit backyard bird feeders.

The wild turkey is native to North America and found mainly in the east, spanning from Ontario down into Florida.

The Great Grey Owl

The owl, known for its spectacular and eerie hoot, nocturnal nature and wisdom is one of the most interesting birds indeed! The great grey owl is one of the world's largest out of the hundreds of breeds. He weighs slightly less than his female counterpart at 1290 grams while she weighs 1454 grams. The wingspan averages 140cm for males and 152 for females.

This owl tends to fly close to the ground and hunts mainly in the wee hours of the morning and late afternoon hours. Owls are often spotted sitting on a fence post perched and waiting for prey. They like to hunt small rodents and will even from time to time hunt other birds. In the winter the grey owl listens for his prey and plunges into the snow to capture it.

The great grey owl is found in Alaska and along the mid-northern line spanning over to Ontario and New Brunswick and down to Minnesota. They can also be found in northern Europe and Asia. Thankfully, they are not endangered or threatened of endangerment.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Steph0596 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Ontario

      Thank you so much Peter! They are beautiful and fascinating creatures.

    • Peter Geekie profile image

      Peter Geekie 

      7 years ago from Sittingbourne

      Dear steph0596,

      Thank you for a very interesting article on large birds in Canada.

      I used to visit Canada several times a year for a couple of decades and was always fascinated by the varied wildlife. I remember driving, one day, from Fort Frances to Marathon but across country rather than along the Trans Canada Highway. On the way I stopped to watch a huge eagle being mobbed by what looked like half a dozen crows and he/she was getting the worst of it. Eagles are quite rare in the UK and I will miss my Canadian trips since retiring middle of last year.

      Voted up awesome and beautiful

      Kind regards Peter

    • Steph0596 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Ontario

      Wow, that would be crazy! I guess it just reminds us that we are still pretty vulnerable to the elements, and animals being one of them, are driven by survival instincts.

    • Highvoltagewriter profile image

      William Benner 

      8 years ago from Savannah GA.

      the story about the Bald Eagle remind me of a similar experience I had on the street I lived in Glendale CA. The coyotes would often kill cats or even grab small dogs off of leashes while they were being walked! If wild animals get hungry enough,it is hard to say what they might do, especially if they lost their fear of humans!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, owlcation.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)