Hawks, Eagles, and Falcons in Illinois

Illinois hosts a sizeable population of hawks, eagles, and falcons. It boasts of the impressive presence of the red-tailed hawk, bald eagle, and peregrine falcon. These birds exemplify the state’s avian diversity and ecological significance.

It is worth noting that all the raptors in the state are protected under federal law. So you can only appreciate their beauty without doing them any harm.

Hawks Eagles and Falcons in Illinois (IL)

List of Different Types of Hawks, Eagles, and Falcons in Illinois


There are only two types of eagles native to the state.

  • Bald Eagle
  • Golden Eagle


  • Sharp-shinned Hawk
  • Cooper’s Hawk
  • American Goshawk
  • Red-shouldered Hawk
  • Broad-winged Hawk
  • Swainson’s Hawk
  • Red-tailed Hawk
  • Rough-legged Hawk
  • Ferruginous Hawk (Accidental)

In northern Illinois, you will likely see the red-tailed, Cooper’s, broad-winged, rough-legged, and sharp-shinned hawks. Central Illinois also has all the aforementioned hawks except the rough-legged species. It has the red-shouldered hawk instead. Southern Illinois, however, has all the types mentioned above. The red-tailed hawk is the most common in the state, while the sharp-shinned hawk is the smallest.


The peregrine falcon was extirpated from the state in the mid-20th century due to the rampant use of pesticides, but since then, they have been reintroduced, and their numbers have recovered. Now they are a regular in Illinois.


  • Osprey


  • Northern Harrier

The Four Rivers Environmental Education Center is a favorite eagle-watching spot for bird enthusiasts of the state. The area is a happening bald eagle hangout in the colder months. In January, migrating bald eagles can be seen along the Fox River at the Carpenter Dam, where birdwatchers flock during that time of the year.

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