17 Large Birds In Colorado (With Photos!)

Living in Colorado and saw some big birds but are not sure which ones they were?

Colorado is known for its wildlife.

According to the Colorado Bird Records Committee (CBRC), there are over 500 species of birds there! And just like in Florida, Michigan, Ohio, and Texas, plenty of those can grow up to impressive sizes.

Examples of large birds in Colorado include the bald eagle, golden eagle, osprey, turkey vulture, great blue heron, American white pelican, Canada goose, and many others. 

The largest bird in Colorado is the American white pelican with a length of 70 inches and a wingspan of 120 inches.

Some of these Colorado’s giant birds, like the great horned owl and peregrine falcon, can be seen year-round in the state, while others, like the sandhill crane and turkey vulture, will spend only summers there. 

Here are their photos, sizes, and fun facts – from the smallest to the largest bird.

Large Birds In Colorado

Belted Kingfishers

belted kingfisher
  • Scientific Name: Megaceryle alcyon
  • Lifespan: 6-14 years
  • Wingspan: 19-23 in
  • Length: 11-14 in
  • Weight: 4-6.3 oz
  • Range In Colorado: Throughout Colorado

Belted kingfishers are the largest kingfisher species found in Colorado. They measure from 11 to 14 inches long and have a wingspan of 19 to 23 inches.

These rather large and conspicuous water kingfishers can be identified by their large heads, long and heavy beaks, and shaggy crests on top. 

Males are slate blue with white underparts, while the females have orange patches on their bellies and flanks and are a lot brighter than males – brighter female plumage is not very common among birds. 

Usually found along lakes, rivers, streams, marshes, and ponds, belted kingfishers are Colorado birds that can be seen there throughout the year. 

Places to see belted kingfishers in Colorado: Basalt River Park (Eagle county), Meeker (Rio Blanco county), Stagecoach SP (Routt county), Radium area (Grand county), Rocky Mountain NP- Moraine Park (Larimer county), etc.

Recognize belted kingfishers by their harsh mechanical rattles and scream calls. 

Source: Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

When the breeding season comes, they become very territorial – males will often charge at and chase intruders away. 

Belted kingfishers are carnivores that dive to catch fish and crayfish with their heavy beaks; they also feed on mollusks, crustaceans, amphibians, and lizards. They can’t digest bones, so just like owls, they regurgitate the undigested pieces as pellets.

Besides Colorado, they are just one of many birds seen in Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Texas, Western Washington, and Southern California.


White-faced Ibis

White-faced Ibis
  • Scientific Name: Plegadis chihi 
  • Lifespan: up to 14 years in the wild
  • Wingspan: 35-37 in
  • Length: 18-22 in 
  • Weight: 1.1 lb
  • Range In Colorado: Central Colorado

White-faced ibises are the largest ibis species found in Colorado. 

These birds measure from 18 to 22 inches long, weigh around a pound and have a wingspan of around 35 inches. 

They resemble non-breeding glossy ibises – identify white-faced ibises by their long and downcurved beaks, dark plumage with iridescent green and reddish shades, white borders on reddish faces, and red eyes. 

These birds are summer residents of Central Colorado and can be seen there from spring to fall; look for them around marshes, swamps, ponds, and rivers.

Places to see white-faced ibises in Colorado: Eleven Mile SP (Park county), Brett Gray Ranch (restricted access) (Lincoln county), Chatfield SP – Gazebo Heronry Overlook Area (Douglas county), Ridgway SP – Bay View Day Use Area (Ouray county), Totten Reservoir (Montezuma county), etc.

These large birds are carnivores and feed on insects, snails, crayfish, leeches, some fish, and frogs – they will use their long beaks to probe the ground for prey. 

White-faced ibises breed in marshes in colonies and nests in low trees or bushes – females will lay 3-4 blue-green eggs. 


Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon
  • Scientific Name: Falco peregrinus
  • Lifespan: 12-15 years
  • Wingspan: 29–47 in
  • Length: 13–23 in
  • Weight: 0.7-3.3 lb
  • Range In Colorado: Western Colorado

Peregrine falcons are the largest falcon species found in Colorado. 

These large, crow-sized birds are famous for their flying speeds and can reach 200 mph (similar to the speed of a race car)!

They have a body length of 13-23 inches, a weight of 0.7-3.3 pounds, and a wingspan of 29-47 in. Similar to other raptor species, females are around 30% bigger than males. 

Identify Peregrine falcons by their grayish backs, long wings that reach tail tips, and powerful yet slender builds. 

Common in various habitats, including coastlines, deserts, valleys, cities, forests, and mountains, they are permanent residents in western parts of Colorado and can be seen there year-round.

Places to see peregrine falcons in Colorado: Chico Basin Ranch (Pueblo county), Rocky Mountain Arsenal NWR-Havana Ponds and Trail (Adams county), Mt. Evans (Clear Creek county), Avalanche Creek (Pitkin county), Wrights Reservoir (Teller county), etc.

Although mostly silent, they will emit loud and harsh “ka-yak” and “kek-kek” calls. 

Using their speed, keen sight, and sharp talons, peregrine falcons can strike and capture birds in mid-air. They will soar at great heights and then dive down at 200 mph to grab the prey.

Besides birds, these large falcons also hunt small mammals, reptiles, and even insects. 

The pairs are monogamous, stay together for life, and use the same nesting site year after year. They nest on high cliffs or skyscraper ledges and have 2-5 creamy white eggs per year.

Peregrine falcons became endangered species due to the use of pesticides (mainly DDT) – thanks to the DDT ban and strong conservational efforts, their populations have recovered and they are now considered species of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).


Double-crested Cormorant

long eyebrows of a double crested cormorant
  • Scientific Name: Phalacrocorax auritus
  • Lifespan: 6-17 years 
  • Wingspan: 45-48 in
  • Length: 28-35 in
  • Weight: 2.6-5.5 lb
  • Range In Colorado: Southeastern Colorado

Double-crested cormorants are the largest cormorant species in Colorado.

These large black water birds are commonly found around bays, lakes, ponds, canals, and marshes. 

They are the most widespread cormorant species in North America and can be recognized by their jet black plumage, small heads, long necks, and thin, strongly hooked orange beaks

Double-crested cormorants are breeding residents found in southeastern parts of Colorado and can be seen there from spring to fall.

Places to see double-crested cormorants in Colorado: Antero Reservoir (Park county), Platte Canyon Reservoir (Douglas county), Big Johnson Reservoir & Bluestem Prairie Open Space (El Paso county), Sands Lake SWA (Chaffee county), Blue Mesa Reservoir (Gunnison county), Russell Lakes SWA (Saguache county), etc.

Identify them also by their most common call which is a deep guttural grunt that resembles a pig oinking. 

Source: G. McGrane, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

When the breeding season starts, males will develop bushy white eyebrows (feathery tufts). 

These birds are excellent swimmers that can dive over 24 feet and stay there for over a minute. However, since they do not have fully waterproof feathers, after hunting, they will need to stand on the shore with their wings spread to dry.

Double-crested cormorants are carnivores that feed on fish, and occasionally amphibians and crustaceans. 

The oldest documented wild double-crested cormorant lived to be almost 18 years old!

Read More: List of birds that have eyebrows


Northern Goshawk

northern goshawk
  • Scientific Name: Accipiter gentilis
  • Lifespan: up to 6 years
  • Wingspan: 35-50 in 
  • Length: 18-27 in
  • Weight: 0.8-4.8 lb
  • Range In Colorado: Throughout Colorado

In Colorado, northern goshawks are found in the forested mountains across the state. 

They build their nests in quaking aspen, ponderosa pine, lodgepole pine, and aspen/mixed conifer stand. They are a species of medium-large raptors and accipiters, “true hawks”. 

Northern goshawks are easy to spot by their broad, rounded wings and long tails. They have dark heads, white eyebrows, faces, throats, breasts, and bellies. The back is blue-gray. 

However, if you’re an avid birdwatcher, you will want to identify these birds from a safe distance as they are very aggressive and will swoop and attack anything that comes too close. 

These raptors are permanent residents of central and western parts of Colorado and winter residents in the eastern parts of the state.

Places to see northern goshawks in Colorado: Erickson Springs Campground (Gunnison county), Hondo Avenue (Teller county), Sanchez Reservoir SWA (Costilla county), Road Canyon Reservoir (Hinsdale county), Coal Bank Pass (San Juan pass), etc.

Northern goshawks can reach a top speed of 61 mph and will silently wait for their prey before rapidly descending and killing it. They are carnivores that feed on medium and large-sized birds, snowshoe hares, and squirrels. 

After a successful hunt, they will easily tear apart the prey with sharp claws and strong curved beaks. 

The species are monogamous: the female will lay 1 to 5 bluish-white eggs and incubate them, while the male provides her with food during that period. 

Identify northern goshawk also by their alarm call consisting of a series of rapid “ki-ki-ki” notes.


Common Raven

common raven
  • Scientific Name: Corvus corax
  • Lifespan: 10-15 years in the wild
  • Wingspan: 45-51 in
  • Length: 21-26 in
  • Weight: 1.5-4.4 lb
  • Range In Colorado: Central and Western Colorado

With a wingspan of 4 feet 3 inches and a weight of up to 4.4 pounds, common ravens are the biggest and heaviest songbirds in Colorado. 

These large black birds look like crows but are much bigger and can weigh more than four times. 

Common ravens are found in open and forest habitats of western parts of Colorado year-round and can be identified by their large size, big and curved beaks, long tails, dark brown eyes, and black iridescent color. 

Places to see common ravens in Colorado: Fairplay (Park county), Vail Ski Resort (Eagle county), Redstone (Pitkin county), Lost Lake (Chaffee county), Dome Lakes SWA (Saguache county), etc.

These big black birds are very intelligent and have one of the largest brains of all birds; they display great ability in problem-solving, using tools, planning for the future, and even playing games like hide-and-seek. 

Common ravens will also pretend to put the food in one place while hiding it in another. They are omnivores and feed on almost anything, including carrion, insects, cereal grains, berries, fruit, small animals, nesting birds, and food waste.


Great Horned Owl

great horned owl
  • Scientific Name: Bubo virginianus
  • Lifespan: 15-25 years
  • Wingspan: 35-60 in
  • Length: 17-25 in
  • Weight: 2.7-3.5 lb
  • Range In Colorado: Throughout Colorado

With a wingspan of almost 5 feet, length of almost 2 feet, and weight of up to 3.5 pounds, great horned owls are the largest owls nesting in Colorado. 

You will find them in multiple habitats, including mountains, grasslands, conifer forests, chaparrals, and others. 

These aggressive birds of prey can be identified by their long, earlike tufts, intimidating yellow eyes, and deep hooting calls. They also have gray-brown plumage with a mottled pattern and a white patch at their throats. 

Great horned owls are permanent residents of Colorado and can be seen statewide year-round.

Places to see great horned owls in Colorado: Manitou Lake (Teller county), Fairplay (Park county), Browns Canyon NM – Ruby Mountain Campground area (Chaffee county), Red Bridge Campground (Gunnison county), Horsethief Canyon SWA (Mesa county), Loudy-Simpson Nature Trail (Moffat county), etc.

These owls are never easy to spot but you can try to locate them by their low-pitched but loud “ho-ho-hoo hoo hoo” call. 

They have the most diverse diet of all North American raptors and can feed on rabbits, hares, rats, mice, voles, other small mammals, larger mid-sized mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates. 

Great horned owls rely on their acute hearing and excellent eyesight to locate their prey before flying in near silence and catching the unsuspecting animal by surprise. 

Great horned owls are monogamous birds and may stay together for over five years, sometimes even for a lifetime – females usually lay 2-5 eggs.


Ferruginous Hawk

Ferruginous Hawk
  • Scientific Name: Buteo regalis
  • Lifespan: up to 20 years in the wild
  • Wingspan: 48-60 in
  • Length: 20-27 in
  • Weight: 2-5 lb
  • Range In Colorado: Throughout Colorado

Ferruginous hawks are the largest and heaviest hawks found in Colorado. 

They weigh from 2 to 5 pounds and can span up to 5 feet across the wings.

Their scientific name “ferruginous” comes from Latin and means “iron-rust color” and refers to their reddish-brown plumage. 

They are one of the largest North American raptors and due to their size, behavior, and proportions, people might mistake them for eagles.

 Identify them by their broad tails and wings, large heads, and feathered legs (similar to rough-legged hawks).

These hawks come in 2 morphs – light-morph Ferruginous hawks have rusty-brown upperparts, pale whitish heads, necks, underparts, and gray upperwings. Dark morphs have dark brown plumage overall with some light areas on the wings. 

Ferruginous hawks are permanent residents of most of Colorado except for some populations in central and southwestern parts that only winter there.

Places to see ferruginous hawks in Colorado: Antero Reservoir (Park county), Chatfield SP – Audubon Center & Trails (Jefferson county), W Kiowa Creek Rd (Elbert county), Chico Basin Ranch (Pueblo county), Pastorius Reservoir (La Plata county), Arapaho NWR (Jackson county), etc.

Listen for their scratchy screaming “kree” alarm calls. 

Ferruginous hawks breed in grasslands, sagebrush, and edges of pinyon-juniper forests, and have a clutch of 4 whitish eggs with red-brown spots. 

They might move south to spend winter and during that period, they will roost in groups of up to a dozen birds. 

They are carnivores and have a diet consisting of rabbits, hares, pocket gophers, ground squirrels, and prairie dogs – they hunt by scanning their surroundings from a perch, by hunting on the ground, or hovering and kiting in place.


Herring Gull

herring gull
  • Scientific Name: Larus argentatus smithsonianus
  • Lifespan: up to 50 years
  • Wingspan: 47-61 in
  • Length: 21-26 in
  • Weight: 1.3-3.6 lb 
  • Range In Colorado: Eastern and Southeastern Colorado

Herring gulls are the largest gull species in Colorado.

These large gulls with sloping foreheads, full chests, and long and powerful beaks are common around wetlands, towns, and dumps.

Adults are light gray with dark wingtips, white irises, and pink legs. Notice their massive beaks with a red spot on the lower mandible.

Herring gulls are winter residents of Colorado.

Places to see herring gulls in Colorado: Cherry Creek SP-Pelican Point area (Arapahoe county), Jumbo Reservoir (Sedgwick county), Dillon Reservoir (Summit county), Pueblo Reservoir (Pueblo county), etc.

These birds are omnivores, primarily scavengers (like other gulls). They feed on invertebrates, fish, insects, carrion, and human refuse.

Herring gulls are intelligent birds that can be often seen dropping clams and mussels from a height on hard surfaces to open them.

They nest on rocky cliffs and can be also seen in Hawaii.


Osprey

osprey
  • Scientific Name: Pandion haliaetus
  • Lifespan: 15-20 years
  • Wingspan: 50–71 in
  • Length: 19.7-26 in
  • Weight: 2-4.6 lb
  • Range In Colorado: Northern and Central Colorado

Ospreys are large diurnal birds of prey found on every continent, except Antarctica. 

Due to their small white heads, wide wingspans, and sharp beaks and talons, people sometimes mistake them for bald eagles. They are dark brown above, and white below, with M-shaped wings when soaring, white heads, and a broad brown stripe through the eyes. 

Ospreys can be seen in northern and central parts of Colorado in the spring and summer but will migrate south for the fall and winter.

Places to see ospreys in Colorado: Big Creek Lakes (Jackson county), Lake Granby (Grand county), Stagecoach SP (Routt county), Grand Junction Wildlife Area (Mesa county), Sands Lake SWA (Chaffee county), etc.

They are widespread there and can be found around the lakes, rivers, and swamps. 

Ospreys have several vocalizations: a slow whistled “kyew-kyew” guard call and a short clear whistle “cheereek” alarm call. 

Source: Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Ospreys are piscivorous and fish makes up 99% of their diet, hence their nickname “fish hawks.” They will hover above the water, locate their prey and then swoop down for the capture with their talons extended. 

Their toes are covered with short spines which help grasp slippery fish better. 

During their 20-year-long lifetime, these migratory birds can travel over 160,000 miles! 

Ospreys nest near water, on top of dead trees, and use branches, sticks, twigs, moss, and fish bones as material. The female will lay a clutch of 3 eggs that both partners incubate.


Turkey Vulture

turkey vulture
  • Scientific Name: Cathartes aura
  • Lifespan: 16 years
  • Wingspan: 63-72 in
  • Length: 24-32 in
  • Weight: 1.8-5.3 lb
  • Range In Colorado: Throughout Colorado

These huge black birds are the most widespread of the New World vultures. 

Turkey vultures, also known as turkey buzzards, or just buzzards, got named for their resemblance to wild turkeys. 

With a wingspan of around 6 feet, black-brown plumage, bare red heads, and white legs, turkey vultures are hard to miss in the sky. 

Look for their silvery flight feathers that are contrasted with dark wing linings while they fly. 

Turkey vultures are breeding residents of Colorado and can be seen there from spring to fall.

Places to see turkey vultures in Colorado: South Meadows Campground (Teller county), Antero Reservoir (Park county), Leadville (Lake county), Basalt River Park (Eagle county), Pagosa Springs-San Juan River Walk (Archuleta county), Trinidad Lake SP (Las Animas county), etc.

Using their keen vision and sharp sense of smell, turkey vultures can locate carrion easily. They lack a syrinx (the vocal organ) which makes them voiceless; all turkey vultures can do is hiss, whine, and grunt. 

They are one of the largest raptors in the USA, just after the eagles and condors. 

Some wildlife experts estimate a population of over 18 million turkey vultures in total. 

They are very social birds that roost in large community groups with several hundred individuals. You might also spot them sitting in trees on the sides of roads waiting for their next meal. 

They do a great service across the US by removing dead animals and preventing the transmission of any diseases those dead animals could have carried. 

Because of their extremely strong stomach acids, turkey vultures can eat and digest carcasses tainted with anthrax, tuberculosis, and rabies, without getting sick.


Canada Goose

canada goose
  • Scientific Name: Branta canadensis
  • Lifespan: 10-24 years
  • Wingspan: 50-73 in
  • Length: 30-43 in
  • Weight: 5.7–14.3 lb
  • Range In Colorado: Throughout Colorado

Canada goose is the largest goose species found in Colorado.

With its 6 ft wingspan, 3.5 ft length, and weight of over 14 pounds, it is one of the most visible and well-known waterfowl in the state.

This large bird is commonly found around wetlands, parks, fields, and golf courses; you will identify a Canada goose by its brown color above that is paler below, black neck and head, white cheeks, and black bill and legs. 

Canada geese are permanent residents throughout most of Colorado, with large numbers of migrant geese occupying southwest parts of the state during the fall and winter.

These birds are considered a nuisance in the state, destroying vegetation, creating sanitation issues (mostly pooping everywhere), and causing “conflicts” with people.

Perhaps we should list places where not to see these birds in Colorado, considering how annoying they can be?

There are 7 subspecies of Canada goose – one of them, the giant Canada goose (B. c. maxima), is considered the largest goose in the world. 

Canada geese breed between February and April and have a clutch size of 4 to 10 eggs that females incubate. 

They are also known for flying in a distinctive V-formation and series of loud “honk” calls.


Sandhill Crane

sandhill crane
  • Scientific Name: Grus canadensis
  • Lifespan: 20 years
  • Wingspan: 78.7 in
  • Length: 47.2 in 
  • Weight: 6-14.8 lb 
  • Range In Colorado: Northwestern and Southern Colorado

Sandhill cranes are one of the most striking birds found in Colorado. 

They are extremely tall and have long necks and legs, and very broad wings. 

Sandhill cranes have a wingspan of almost 7 feet, a height of 4 feet, and an average weight of 10 pounds! 

You will recognize them by their mostly slate gray plumage, rusty washes on the upperparts, pale cheeks in adults, red patches on their heads, and black legs. 

Sandhill cranes are breeding residents in northern parts of Colorado; in the last couple of decades, very small numbers of cranes can be also found in southern parts of the state.

Places to see sandhill cranes in Colorado: Loudy-Simpson Nature Trail (Moffat county), Steamboat Lake SP (Routt county), Arapaho NWR (Jackson county), Horseshoe Reservoir (Larimer county), Monte Vista NWR (Rio Grande county), Glade Lake (Dolores county), Vega SP (Mesa county).

They begin arriving in the state around late February and after breeding, move south around fall, from late September to late November.

Sandhill cranes are fairly social birds and can be usually found in pairs or family groups throughout the year. 

They are also monogamous and mate for life, staying together for years, until one of the cranes dies.

 Sandhill cranes mostly feed on plants, insects, and snails.


Great Blue Heron

a great blue heron with orange beak
  • Scientific Name: Ardea herodias
  • Lifespan: 15 years
  • Wingspan: 66–79 in
  • Length: 36–54 in
  • Weight: 4-7.9 lb
  • Range In Colorado: Central and Eastern Colorado

Great blue herons are one of the biggest blue birds in the world

They are also the largest herons native to North America and can be found year-round in central and eastern parts of Colorado, mainly around wetlands.

Places to see great blue herons in Colorado: Chatfield SP – Plum Creek Nature Area (Douglas county), Echo Lake & Lodge (Clear Creek county), Manitou Lake (Teller county), Lake Pueblo SP – Rock Canyon area (Pueblo county), Lake Hasty (Bent county), etc.

With a wingspan of up to 6.6 ft, these blue-winged birds are hard to miss. 

Great blue herons are blue-gray and have large yellow-orange beaks, short black plumes on their heads, and black and chestnut patterns on the shoulders. During the flight, they will hold their neck in an S-shape with legs trailing behind. 

Great blue herons are monogamous only for a single season and will go through some interesting courtship rituals, locking and rubbing their bills on the feathers of the other bird before mating. 

Both parents will take turns in incubating the eggs. They nest in colonies called heronries that can occasionally have more than 500 nests!

Great blue herons are carnivores that feed on fish, amphibians, reptiles, invertebrates, small mammals, and even other birds. 

These wading birds will slowly stalk their prey in shallow waters, striking with lightning speed, and catching them with their long and sharp beaks.

Read More: The largest white birds of the world


Golden Eagle

golden eagle
  • Scientific Name: Aquila chrysaetos
  • Lifespan: up to 30 years
  • Wingspan: 70.8-90.1 in 
  • Length: 26-40 in
  • Weight: 7.9-11 lb
  • Range In Colorado: Throughout Colorado

Golden eagles are one of North America’s largest eagle species. 

These enormous birds are also one of the fastest and most agile birds of prey in the USA. 

Identify golden eagles by their overall dark brown plumage and the lighter golden-brown color of their napes. Their agility and speed together with powerful feet and large, sharp talons allow golden eagles to hunt rabbits, hares, and ground squirrels. 

Golden eagles can be seen year-round in western parts of Colorado and during winter in the eastern parts.

Places to see golden eagles in Colorado: Chico Basin Ranch (El Paso county), Browns Canyon NM (Chaffee county), Wapiti Wildlife Center (Pitkin county), Powderhorn Ski Area (Mesa county), Craig Station Power Plant Ponds (Moffat county), Gateway Natural Area (Larimer county), Brush Hollow Reservoir (Fremont county), etc.

These raptors will catch rising masses of warm air to soar in the air with very little effort and look for their next meal – when they spot their prey, these brown-colored eagles will swoop at 200 mph. 

Golden eagles are monogamous and mate for life. They are very territorial and will often attack hawks, eagles, and falcons that enter their territory. 

They construct huge nests that can be 5-6 feet wide and 2 feet high – the largest ever recorded golden eagle nest was 20 feet tall and 8.5 feet wide!


Bald Eagle

bald eagle
  • Scientific Name: Haliaeetus leucocephalus
  • Lifespan: 20-30 years in the wild
  • Wingspan: 70.8-90.5 in 
  • Length: 28-40 in
  • Weight: 6.6-13.9 lb
  • Range In Colorado: Throughout Colorado

Bald eagles are the largest eagle species found in Colorado.

These national birds of the United States can be identified by their brown bodies, white heads and tails, and yellow legs and beaks. 

Before attaining these characteristics around the age of five, bald eagles are mostly dark brown with varying amounts of white mottling. 

Bald eagles can be mostly seen during winter in Colorado, most commonly around areas near water. 

Places to see bald eagles in Colorado: Big Johnson Reservoir & Bluestem Prairie Open Space (El Paso county), Mt. Elbert Forebay (Lake county), Silt Island Park (Garfield county), Loudy-Simpson Park (Moffat county), Horsethief Canyon SWA (Mesa county), Ridgway SP-Marina area (Ouray county), etc.

According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), bald eagles in Colorado went from just 3 known eagle nests by the end of the 1970s to over 200 today. 

Speaking of, they build one of the largest nests of any North American bird – the largest recorded one was in Florida and measured 10 feet wide and 20 feet deep. 

These magnificent raptors are hard to miss as they soar through the air with their 7.5-foot-wide wingspan. Bald eagles are carnivores and opportunistic feeders that primarily consume fish they snatch from the water with their sharp talons.


American White Pelican

american pelican
  • Scientific Name: Pelecanus erythrorhynchos
  • Lifespan: 16-30 years
  • Wingspan: 95-120 in
  • Length: 50–70 in
  • Weight: 11-20 lb
  • Range In Colorado: Northern Colorado

American white pelicans are the largest birds found in Colorado. 

Everything about these white birds with black flight feathers is enormous. They have a wingspan of up to 9.85 feet and can weigh as much as 30 pounds!

American white pelicans also have one of the longest necks and beaks of any North American waterbirds. Their beaks are vivid yellow-orange and measure 11.3–15.2 inches in males and 10.3–14.2 inches in females. 

American white pelicans can be seen in northern and central parts of Colorado from spring to fall. 

American white pelicans breed in the state from March through early May; when the winter comes, they move to winter on the Pacific and Gulf of Mexico coasts, from central California and Florida south to Panama. 

Places to see American white pelicans in Colorado: Antero Reservoir (Park county), Chatfield SP (Jefferson county), Topminnow Natural Area (Larimer county), Walden Reservoir (Jackson county), Steamboat Lake SP (Routt county), Loudy-Simpson Park (Moffat county), etc.

Their diet mostly consists of fish, but also some crayfish and salamanders. 

Fun fact: A group of pelicans is called a “brief” and a “squadron”.


Summary

This concludes our list of large birds in Colorado. 

Examples include several types of eagles, pelicans, cranes, geese, owls, vultures, hawks, and many others. 

Colorado has large areas of different natural habitats that make great homes for a wide range of bird species. And next time, should you see these birds in person, you should be able to recognize any of them with ease! 

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