California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Raptors of California

USFWS Photo by George Gentry Golden Eagle. USFWS Photo.

The word "raptor" is the term used for a group of birds consisting of hawks, falcons, kites, eagles, vultures and owls. Raptors, also referred to as "birds of prey", are a valuable resource to the State of California, and therefore are protected under State law (See Fish and Game Code, Sections 3503, 3503.5, 3505 and 3513, and California Code of Regulation, Title 14, Sections 251.1, 652 and 783-786.6). There are over 30 species of raptors that inhabit California at some point in their life cycle. Below are links to various raptor species pages where detailed information on each is given.

Fully Protected Raptors

State Threatened and Endangered Raptors

USFWS Photo by Frank Doyle Peregrine Falcon. USFWS Photo.

Raptor Species of Special Concern

Other California Raptors

  • Northern Spotted Owl
  • Cooper's Hawk
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk
  • Ferruginous Hawk
  • Osprey
  • Harris' Hawk
  • Merlin
  • Prairie Falcon
  • Red-tailed hawk
  • Red-shouldered hawk
  • American Kestrel
  • Broad-winged hawk
  • Rough-legged hawk
  • Great-horned owl
  • Barn owl
  • Screech owl
  • Turkey Vulture
USFWS Photo California Condor. USFWS Photo.


Survey and Monitoring Protocols and Guidelines for Birds.

If you have questions regarding raptors in California please contact Carie Battistone at