7 Types of Hawks in New Jersey


New Jersey, often known as the Garden State, boasts a diverse ecosystem that is home to a wide array of wildlife. Among the many fascinating creatures that call this state home, hawks stand out as majestic and awe-inspiring birds of prey.

In this article, we will delve into the captivating world of hawks in New Jersey, exploring the various species that grace the skies with their presence.

The Red-Tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)

One of the most iconic hawks in New Jersey is the Red-Tailed Hawk. With its distinct brick-red tail feathers, this species is a common sight throughout the state. Known for its keen hunting skills, the Red-Tailed Hawk is a symbol of power and grace.

The Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii)

Inhabiting wooded areas and suburban neighborhoods, the Cooper’s Hawk is a stealthy predator. Its adaptability to urban environments has allowed it to thrive in New Jersey’s diverse landscapes.

The Sharp-Shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus)

The Sharp-Shinned Hawk, often mistaken for the Cooper’s Hawk due to its similar appearance, is the smallest hawk in New Jersey. These agile hunters primarily feed on small birds and are known for their lightning-fast dives.

The Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis)

The Northern Goshawk is a rare sight in New Jersey but has been spotted in the state’s northern regions. These large hawks are renowned for their strength and incredible hunting prowess.

The Red-Shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)

Distinguished by its striking red shoulder patches, the Red-Shouldered Hawk is a resident of New Jersey’s dense forests and wetlands. These hawks are known for their distinctive vocalizations.

The Broad-Winged Hawk (Buteo platypterus)

Broad-Winged Hawks are migratory birds that pass through New Jersey during their journey south for the winter. Witnessing their massive flocks soaring overhead is a breathtaking sight for birdwatchers.

The Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)

Although not technically a hawk, the Osprey is a fascinating bird of prey commonly found along New Jersey’s coastlines. These birds are often seen hunting for fish near bodies of water.

The Hawk’s Role in New Jersey’s Ecosystem

Hawks play a vital role in maintaining the ecological balance in New Jersey. As apex predators, they help control the populations of rodents and small mammals, thereby preventing overpopulation and its subsequent environmental consequences.

Conservation Efforts

Despite their importance, hawks in New Jersey face various threats, including habitat loss and human activities. Conservation organizations and bird enthusiasts actively work to protect these majestic birds. It’s crucial for residents to be aware of these conservation efforts and support them whenever possible.


In New Jersey, the presence of hawks adds to the state’s natural beauty and ecological diversity. These magnificent birds of prey serve as both indicators of a healthy ecosystem and sources of inspiration for those who encounter them. By understanding and appreciating the seven types of hawks in New Jersey, we can contribute to their conservation and ensure their continued presence in our skies.


  1. Are hawks in New Jersey dangerous to humans? Hawks are generally not dangerous to humans unless provoked or cornered. They prefer to hunt small mammals and birds.
  2. What is the best time to spot hawks in New Jersey? Hawks are most active during the daytime, making morning and late afternoon the ideal times for birdwatching.
  3. Do hawks migrate in New Jersey? Yes, some hawks, like the Broad-Winged Hawk, migrate through New Jersey during certain seasons.
  4. How can I help conserve hawks in New Jersey? You can support local conservation organizations, report injured hawks to wildlife authorities, and avoid activities that harm their habitats.
  5. Can I keep a hawk as a pet in New Jersey? No, keeping hawks as pets is illegal in most places, including New Jersey, without the required permits and training.
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