13 LARGE Birds that live in Newfoundland and Labrador (2023)

Do you want to learn about the LARGEST birds found in Newfoundland and Labrador?

Well, you have come to the right place. πŸ™‚

Below is a list of birds that are large, either in weight, height, length, or wingspan. I’ve included a variety of species, such as hawks, herons, corvids, owls, and geese.

13 LARGE Birds That Live in Newfoundland and Labrador:


#1. Red-tailed Hawk

  • Buteo jamaicensis

Types of large birds in Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Length: 18-26 in / 45-65 cm
  • Weight: 1.5-3.5 lbs. / 700-1600 g
  • Wingspan: 43-55 in / 110-140 cm

Red-tailed Hawks are probably the type of hawk that people are most familiar with.

These large birds are often seen in Newfoundland and Labrador on drives in the countryside, either soaring in the sky or perched on a fence post. The plumage color of Red-tailed Hawks can be anything from nearly white to virtually black, so coloration is not a reliable indicator. The best way to identify them is by looking for their characteristic red tail. πŸ™‚

Red-tailed Hawk Range Map

Red-tailed Hawk Range Map

These hawks are highly adaptable, and there is no real description of their preferred habitats because they seem to be comfortable everywhere. I have seen Red-tailed Hawks backpacking in the deep wilderness to urban cities to my own suburban backyard! Pick a habitat, such as pastures, parks, deserts, roadsides, rainforests, woodlands, fields, or scrublands, and you’ll find them thriving.

Red-tailed Hawks have impressive calls that are easily identified.

In fact, people are so enamored with their screams it’s common for directors to use the sounds of a Red-tailed Hawk to replace Bald Eagles that appear in movies. In case you have never heard one, Bald Eagles don’t make sounds that live up to their appearance (putting it nicely!).


#2. Great Horned Owl

  • Bubo virginianus

Types of large birds in Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Length: 17-25 in (43 – 64 cm)
  • Weight: 2.5 to 4 lbs (1134 – 1814 g)
  • Wingspan: 3 – 5 feet (91-153 cm)

Great Horned Owls are common large birds in Newfoundland and Labrador.

In fact, these raptors can actually be found almost anywhere in North America, from the Arctic to the tropics. Its habitat is practically unlimited as long as there are trees and rocky nesting sites available. It is hard to find a bird that can adapt better than a Great Horned Owl.

Great Horned Owl Range Map

great horned owl range map

These owls are large and look fierce! To identify them, look for their long tufts of feathers that resemble ears on their head. Also, check out their intimidating eyes. I know I would not want to have a staring contest with one!

Both sexes hoot, but males are lower-pitched than females. Males give territorial calls that can be heard a few miles away at night. I don’t think there’s another owl species that does hooting better than a Great Horned Owl!

Generally speaking, these owls tend to eat larger animals to sustain their bigger bodies. They seek rabbits, geese, groundhogs, many species of birds, rats, and even other raptors!

But these owls also have no problem eating small prey, such as frogs, insects, invertebrates, reptiles, mice, and scorpions. Interestingly, a Great Horned Owl’s sense of smell is so weak that they even attack and eat skunks!


#3. Peregrine Falcon

  • Falco peregrinus

Types of large birds in Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Length: 13-23 in / 34-58 cm
  • Weight: 12-53 oz. / 330-1500 g
  • Wingspan: 29-47 in / 74-120 cm

These large birds of prey are commonly found in Newfoundland and Labrador in urban areas. Because of their fondness for nesting on the sides of tall buildings, these falcons are common in cities where they often become local celebrities!

Peregrine Falcon Range Map

peregrine falcon range map

Peregrine Falcons have the honor of being the FASTEST animal on the planet!

Don’t be fooled by stories that the cheetah is the fastest creature. Oh sure, they can crank it up to 75 mph (120 kph), and that is amazing for being on the ground.

But when a Peregrine Falcon dives, it can reach speeds of up to 200 mph (320 kph)! And it starts its journey from as high as 3,000 feet, so it cruises at these high speeds for a considerable distance.

CHECK OUT THE VIDEO BELOW TO SEE THE INCREDIBLE DIVING ABILITIES OF THE PEREGRINE FALCON.

At the high speeds that these falcons can travel, their lungs should inflate and burst. But because they have a bony bump in their nose, it disrupts the airflow just like the dome shape on the front of a jet engine. Nature never ceases to amaze!


#4. Bald Eagle

  • Haliaeetus leucocephalus

Types of large birds in Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Length: 28-40 in / 70-102 cm
  • Weight: 6.5-15 lbs / 3-7 kg
  • Wingspan: 71-91 in / 1.8-2.3 m

The Bald Eagle has been the national symbol of the United States since 1782 and is one of the most recognizable birds in the world!

These large raptors are now quite prevalent in Newfoundland and Labrador, but that wasn’t always the case.

Bald Eagles almost went extinct in the mid-20th century due to DDT poisoning. After years of dedicated conservation work, they have recovered and are a true success story. They are most commonly seen around bodies of water.

Bald Eagle Range Map

The reason that Bald Eagles are found around water is that they mostly eat fish! Look for them around marshes, lakes, coasts, and rivers. The BEST areas are forests near large bodies of water that provide good fishing AND tall trees for nesting sites.

Below, you can hear what a Bald Eagle sounds like. If you imagine an intimidating eagle call, then you would be wrong. I think they sound more like a gull, with trills and little whistles.

Press PLAY above to hear a Bald Eagle!


#5. Canada Goose

  • Branta canadensis

Types of large birds in Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Length: 30 – 43 in / 75 to 110 cm
  • Weight: 5.75 – 14.25 lb / 2.6–6.5 kg
  • Wingspan: 50–73 in / 127–185 cm

Canada Geese are extremely common.

I’m sure you probably recognize these large birds, as they are very comfortable living around people. Look for them wherever there are grasses or grains to eat, such as lawns, parks, farm fields, and golf courses. I know I have been guilty of stepping in their “droppings” at least a few times in my backyard as they come to eat corn from my feeding station. πŸ™‚

Canada Goose Range Map

canada goose range map

In fact, these geese are now so abundant that many people consider them pests for the amount of waste they produce! If you have a manicured lawn that is maintained all the way to the water’s edge, you have an open invitation for these birds to visit.

The Canada Goose is also easy to identify while flying overhead. If you see a flock of large birds in a V-formation, then it’s most likely them. Flying this way helps conserve energy, and different birds take turns leading the way.

These large birds are easy to hear in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Listen for a wide variety of loud honks and cackles. Listen above!


#6. American Crow

  • Corvus brachyrhynchos

american crow

  • Length: 16–20 in / 40–50 cm
  • Weight: 11 – 21 oz / 300 – 600 g
  • Wingspan: 33 – 39 in / 85 – 100 cm

American Crows are large, adaptable birds and are common in almost every habitat. The places they can be found include woodlands, fields, rivers, marshes, farms, parks, landfills, golf courses, cemeteries, and neighborhoods.

American Crow Range Map

american crow range map

These corvids are one of the smartest birds found in Newfoundland and Labrador. For example, they can use tools, solve problems, and recognize human faces. It seems that crows even do things just for fun! Seriously, if you search the internet, it is easy to find videos of them using round objects to sled down roofs.

American Crows have a large vocabulary. Listen for any number of caws, rattles, cackles, and clicks. The most common sound is a “caw-caw.” (Listen below)


#8. Osprey

  • Pandion haliaetus

osprey

  • Length: 20-25.5 in / 50-65 cm
  • Weight: 3-4.4 lb. / 1.4-2 kg
  • Wingspan: 59-71 in / 150-180 cm

Despite their appearance, the first thing you should know about Ospreys is they are NOT hawks! They are not eagles either and, scientifically speaking, have been given their own Family (Pandionidae) and Genus (Pandion), separate from all other birds of prey.

Osprey Range Map

Osprey Range Map

When you think of an Osprey, you should think of fish because that is what these birds eat 99% of the time. Even an Osprey’s talons are perfectly adapted for catching fish. If you take a close look, you will see they are extremely curved and even intersect when fully closed, which makes them perfectly designed for holding onto slippery fish!

Even more interesting, their outer toe is reversible, which lets them rotate the toe so they can have two in front and two in back. Only Ospreys and owls have this unique ability, which allows them to be more efficient hunters.

And these guys don’t just skim the surface and grab their prey near the top like an eagle. Ospreys hit the water HARD and plunge right in to assure themselves of a catch. Amazingly, they can then take off while submerged and with a fish in their talons!


#8. Great Blue Heron

  • Ardea herodias

great blue heron

  • Length: 36–54 in / 91–137 cm
  • Height: 45–54 in / 115–138 cm
  • Weight: 4.0–7.9 lb / 1.82–3.6 kg
  • Wingspan: 66–79 in / 167–201 cm

These large birds are typically seen in Newfoundland and Labrador along the edges of rivers, lakes, and wetlands.

Great Blue Herons appear majestic in flight, and once you know what to look for, it is pretty easy to spot them. Watch the skies for a LARGE bird that folds its neck into an “s” shape and has its legs trailing straight behind.

Great Blue Heron Range Map

great blue heron range map

Most of the time, they will either be motionless or moving very slowly through the water, looking for their prey. But watch them closely because when an opportunity presents itself, these herons will strike quickly and ferociously to grab something to eat. Common foods include fish, frogs, reptiles, small mammals, and even other birds.

Believe it or not, Great Blue Herons mostly build their nests, which are made out of sticks, very high up in trees. In addition, they almost always nest in large colonies that can include up to 500 different breeding pairs. And unbelievably, nearly all the breeding pairs nest in the same few trees!


#9. Common Raven

  • Corvus corax

common raven

  • Length: 25 in / 63 cm
  • Weight: 3.2 lbs / 1.47 kg
  • Wingspan: 46-60 in / 116-153 cm

These large birds are one of the SMARTEST in Newfoundland and Labrador!

For example, one study has shown that Ravens are drawn to gunshots during hunting season to investigate the carcass but ignore other loud noises that don’t lead to food, such as air horns or car alarms.

Their intelligence makes them efficient predators, and it’s common for ravens to team up to get food, such as stealing eggs from nests or attacking larger prey like newly born lambs.

Common Raven Range Map

Since they are so smart and adaptable, Common Ravens are found in many habitats. Look for them living near the edges of towns, especially in landfills that supply an endless amount of food. But ravens also have no problem living far away from civilization.

Common Ravens are impressive vocalists who make many different types of calls, from harsh grating calls to shrill alarm sounds. But the most common sound you will hear in the wild is a gurgling croak that rises in pitch.

Interestingly, they can mimic the sounds of many other bird species and even humans if raised in captivity.


#10. Northern Goshawk

  • Accipiter gentilis

species of hawks

  • Length: 16-27 in / 41-69 cm
  • Weight: 22-50 oz / 630-1400 g
  • Wingspan: 35-50 in / 89-127 cm

Northern Goshawks are secretive birds that are hard to see, as these birds of prey prefer living in large forests away from civilization. Many people mistakenly think they have seen one in their backyard when it was just a Cooper’s Hawk, which looks similar.

But look closely, and you will see a dark-colored head that is usually paired with deep red eyes, which makes the Northern Goshawk hard to mistake. The underbody is often a bluish-white to light gray with barring. The upper body is blue-gray or even brown with certain morphs.

Northern Goshawk Range Map

Northern Goshawk Range Map

These large birds are widespread in Newfoundland and Labrador but are hard to see, especially in the suburbs and cities. Some individual birds are short-term migrants during colder months, heading south until adequate food can be found. Other birds stay in the same place all year.

Opportunistic and fierce hunters, Northern Goshawks eat a wide variety of foods. The list includes insects, mammals, birds, and reptiles.

Listen for a harsh “ca-ca-ca” sound. As it calls, they turn their head from side to side slowly, which gives the vocal effect of a ventriloquist.


#11. Double-crested Cormorant

  • Nannopterum auritum

double crested cormorant

  • Length: 28–35 in / 70–90 cm
  • Weight: 2.6 – 5.5 lb / 1.2 – 2.5 kg
  • Wingspan: 45 – 48 in / 114 – 123 cm

Double-crested Cormorants are incredibly unique looking, with many people thinking they appear to be a cross between a loon and a goose. These expert divers eat almost exclusively fish, which they catch underwater with their perfectly adapted hooked bills.

Double-crested Cormorant Range Map

double crested cormorant range map

One of the BEST ways to find these large water birds in Newfoundland and Labrador is to look for them on land with their wings spread out. Double-crested Cormorants don’t have waterproof feathers, so after swimming, they have to dry them.

Large colonies of these birds tend to gather in trees near water, where they all build their nests in a small cluster of trees. Unfortunately, there can be so many birds so close together that their poop ends up killing the trees!

Double-crested Cormorants emit unique, deep guttural grunts, which I think sound more like a large walrus than a bird. Listen below!


#12. Golden Eagle

  • Aquila chrysaetos

species of eagles

  • Length: 26-40 in / 66-100 cm
  • Weight: 6.5-16 lbs / 3-7 kg
  • Wingspan: 71-91 in / 1.8-2.3 m

Golden Eagles are incredibly fast and agile, which makes them expert hunters. Where Bald Eagles mostly eat fish, these eagles almost always eat mammals. Their favorite prey include rabbits, hares, ground squirrels, marmots, and prairie dogs. But these raptors have been known to hunt and kill animals as large as small deer, seals, mountain goats, coyotes, and badgers!

Golden Eagles are dark brown with gold feathers on the backs of their necks, which is how they got their name. Juvenile birds have white patches on their wings and tails. Immature Bald Eagles and adult Golden Eagles look similar and can be easily confused.

golden eagle vs bald eagle juvenile - common eagles

The distinguishing feature between these two birds is that the Bald Eagle doesn’t mind showing a little leg, whereas the Golden Eagle has feathers down to the top of its feet.

These large birds prefer vast open areas in Newfoundland and Labrador, such as landscapes that include cliffs, mountains, or hills. You can also spot these birds in grasslands, farmlands, shrublands, arctic tundra, and coniferous woodlands.

Golden Eagle Range Map

golden eagle range map

These eagles are not extremely noisy, and their calls sound like whistles that are weak and high. Just like Bald Eagles, for such a powerful raptor, you would think Golden Eagles would have a much more intimidating sound!


#13. Gyrfalcon

  • Falco rusticolus

gyrfalcon

  • Length: 19 – 26 in / 48 – 65 cm
  • Weight: 1.75 – 5 lbs. / 794 – 2268 g
  • Wingspan: 43 – 63 in / 110 -160 cm

The first thing we need to discuss when it comes to Gyrfalcons is how to pronounce its name! As much as I want to say “Gear-falcon” every time, that is incorrect.

The correct way to pronounce the name is “JERβ€’falcon.” The beginning sounds like the letter “J” and not the letter “G” (Click this link to hear someone saying β€œGyrfalcon.”)

Okay, now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk more about this magnificent raptor! The Gyrfalcon, sometimes known as the Gyr, is the largest species of falcon in Newfoundland and Labrador (and the world). They are birds of the Arctic, and they breed on the sides of cliffs in remote areas of Alaska and Canada. Because they live in secluded areas, Gyrfalcons are typically safe from human disturbances, but they do face challenges from climate change.

gryfalcon range map

During winter months, Gyrs have to come south from the high Arctic to find food. Depending on the specific year, you never know how far south they may come!

As far as sounds go, Gyrfalcons make a few. When they are alarmed, listen for a “kak kak kak” noise, which you can hear below.


Learn more about other birds in Newfoundland and Labrador!


Which of these large birds have you seen in Newfoundland and Labrador?

Let us know in the comments!