Birds of New Jersey
Did you know there are over 480 species of birds found in New Jersey? Get to know common species near you.
These tiny hawks are extremely acrobatic fliers, navigating through thick woods at top speed in pursuit of their prey. Sharp-shinned hawks are nearly identical to Cooper's hawks. One way to tell them apart is by looking at their tail feathers: Sharp-shinned hawks have straight tail feather tips, and Cooper's have curved tail feather tips. Hint Hint: Straight starts with S, sharp-shinned hawk starts with S. Curved starts with C, Cooper's hawk starts with C.
After breeding season, these iridescent blue songbirds start their migration south. Migration numbers peak in New Jersey come early autumn. Enormous flocks numbering in the hundreds or thousands of tree swallows can be seen gathering about an hour before sunset, swirling around like a massive tornado.
White-throated sparrows are a common sight during New Jersey winters. After wrapping up its breeding season in Canada, this species makes its way to most of eastern and southern North America to overwinter. During winter, you’ll find white-throated sparrows along the edges of thickets, weedy fields, suburbs, backyards, and even city parks.
Mallards are a familiar sight in New Jersey. The male's green head, yellow bill, and brown and black body make it one of the easiest identifiable birds. Mallards can live in almost any wetland habitat, artificial or natural. Look for them in ponds, lakes, or even suburban parks. Male mallards don't quack. The female's call is the "standard" duck sound.
These ground foraging songbirds can usually be seen sitting atop cattails and telephone wires. Males are glossy black with red and yellow shoulder patches, while females are brown with pale streaks. The males are fiercely territorial.
Put Your Skills to the Test!
Our preserves throughout the state provide much-needed habitat for a wide variety of wildlife. Now that you've learned about the appearance, habitats, and calls of these common bird species, test your knowledge at one of our New Jersey preserves!