Hawks, Eagles, and Falcons in Iowa

Iowa boasts of diverse species of hawks, eagles, and falcons. They include red-tailed hawks, bald eagles, and American kestrels vital to local ecosystems, indicating environmental health and adding to the state’s natural charm.

Hawks Eagles and Falcons in Iowa (IA)

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


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

During winter, many eagles from the northern states and Canada migrate south in search of food. They start coming to Iowa in September and increase their numbers through January. 

The bald eagle, America’s pride and joy, is the most common in Iowa. They nest from January through August in the state, with a significant part of the egg-laying activity occurring from February to July.


  • 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

The small hawks of the state are the sharp-shinned and Cooper’s hawks. The ferruginous hawk is the largest in Iowa.


American kestrels can be seen year-round, while the merlin frequents the state during migration season. The peregrines occur mainly in the migration season but can be spotted in some remote locations in the breeding season as well. There are a few places where they even reside the whole year.


  • Osprey


  • Northern Harrier

There are excellent eagle-watching spots in Iowa: Lansing, Effigy Mounds National Monument, Pikes Peak State Park, Quad Cities, Des Moines, and Decorah. Lock and Dam 14, in Le Claire, is one of the most popular places to watch bald eagles catch fish, nest, and fly over the Mississippi River.

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