Hawks, Eagles, and Falcons in North Carolina

North Carolina’s eagles, falcons, and hawks are thrilling to watch. The state features the red-shouldered hawk, known for its distinctive call. The osprey, or “fish hawk,” displays remarkable hunting precision. At the same time, the merlin’s agility helps it adapt to the diverse habitats that North Carolina has to offer, ranging from mountains to coastlines.

Hawks Eagles and Falcons in North Carolina (NC)

List of Different Types of Hawks, Eagles, and Falcons in North Carolina


There are two types of eagles native to North Carolina.

The national symbol, the bald eagle, is mainly concentrated in large freshwater lakes, both natural ones and reservoirs. They also forage at large bays and tidal rivers but are fewer in saltwater areas like tidal or ocean channels. Nest sites are typically in giant cypresses and pines, especially near water, where they can view their surroundings easily. According to a 2020 count, around 400 bald eagles were in the state.


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

The largest hawk in the state is the rough-legged hawk, and the smallest is the sharp-shinned hawk.



  • Osprey


  • Northern Harrier

Around 13 species of migrating raptors are seen regularly in the Pilot Mountain State Park. They include the hawks, ospreys, northern harriers, and bald eagles. Most of these migrating birds of prey can be seen between mid-September and mid-October. Bald eagle viewing can be a rewarding experience at Lake Mattamuskeet and Jordan Lake.

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