7 Big Birds In Nevada (With Pictures!)

In this article I’ll be going over 7 big birds that can be found all throughout Nevada so continue reading for a more detailed look at each bird below:

  • Bald Eagle
  • Golden Eagle 
  • Snowy Egret
  • Great Horned Owl 
  • American Herring Gull 
  • White American Pelican
  • Turkey Vulture

7 Big Birds In Nevada

1. Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus Leucocephalus)

Bald eagle

  • Size: 90 – 108cm
  • Weight: 3 – 6.3kg
  • Wingspan: 180 – 250cm

Bald eagles are fall and winter non-breeding residents across Nevada’s borders.

A bald eagle’s plumage consists of dark brown around its wing and body, with white feathers on its tail and head along with the trademark yellow beak and feet. Both male and female bald eagles look relatively the same.

As for where you can find these eagles, it will often be around lakes and reservoirs with lots of fish and surrounding forests. You’ll often find them around unfrozen lakes and hunting along coastlines, reservoirs, and rivers during the winter months

These eagles are birds of prey meaning they hunt other birds, medium sized mammals like rabbits, hares, other animals like reptiles, fish and even eat carrion when their options are limited. Sometimes bald eagles are recognised as fish eagles as their diet consists of fish and as meat is the only thing they eat these eagles would ultimately be regarded as carnivores too.

Bald eagles can live for around 20 years in the wild.

2. Golden Eagle (Aquila Chrysaetos)

  • Size: 70 – 82cm
  • Weight: 3.7 – 5.3kg
  • Wingspan: 190 – 212cm

Golden eagles can be found all across Nevada on a year round basis.

These eagles are recognised by their mostly light brown and dark brown plumage, yellow feet and black downwards pointing beak. Females once again are the larger of the 2 birds where males are roughly 33% smaller in size.

These eagles spend the majority of their time within open moorlands and mountains within the likes of Scotland, and many areas within north America

Golden eagles do eat carrion but, it isn’t their first choice of food when hunting for prey. If they do find a dead carcass they will eat it, with their general food choices consisting of smaller mammals, birds and sometimes larger prey.

These eagles are known to live for around 14 years in the wild whilst captive are even able stay alive till their early 30’s with the longest observed at 32 years old.

3. Snowy Egret (Egretta Thula)

Snowy egret

  • Size: 56 – 66cm
  • Weight: 350 – 390 grams
  • Wingspan: 95 – 105cm

You’ll find snowy egrets when breeding in the majority of Nevada but, they can be found in the western region of the state when migrating. 

Snowy egrets as their name would suggest are snow white birds with a long neck, black beak, black legs whilst also having a relatively large frame. Besides their sexual organs the only differentiating factors between males and females are that the males are slightly larger.

You’ll find these egrets by mudflats, beaches, and wetlands, but you can also see them forage in wet agricultural fields and along the edges of rivers and lakes. 

Snowy egrets eat a variety of foods from fish, insects, crustaceans which includes crabs, crayfish, frogs, snakes, snails, worms, lizards, rodents and more.

These egrets are known to live for around 5 – 6 years in the wild and upwards of 16 years in captivity.

4. Great Horned Owl (Bubo Vrginianus)

Great horned owl

  • Size: 57 – 63cm
  • Weight: 1.4 – 1.5kg
  • Wingspan: 1.35 – 1.5m

Great horned owls can be found all across Nevada on a year round basis.

These large horned owls are recognised by their brown/gray plumage with their defining feature being the tuft of feather on the top of their head resembling a horn or ear like feature. Male and female great horned owls look relatively the same with the females slightly larger in size.

At night these birds will perch on a branch or a tall building to look around for prey and once the desired prey has been found they will fly towards it with folded wings, grab the prey with their talons piercing through their body and in most cases killing  them immediately.

As for what these birds eat it includes smaller prey like rodents, frogs or scorpions. Even other larger predators like geese, ducks, hawks, and smaller owls can be eaten by these carnivorous birds.

Great horned owls are most commonly found in deserts, wetlands, forests, grasslands, backyards, cities and they can also be found in semi-open habitats between the Arctic and the tropics.

As for a great horned owls lifespan, it can be anywhere from 15 -25 years.

5. American Herring Gull (Larus Smithsonianus)

American herring gull

  • Size: 60 – 67cm
  • Weight: 1 – 1.5kg
  • Wingspan: 120 – 160cm

You’ll find American herring gulls using the majority of the state when migrating but, they do stick around in the northeast of Nevada in their non-breeding season.

American herring gulls are recognised by their gray wings, black tail feather, white feathers in the remainder of their body, yellow beak and reddish/orange legs. The females are typically a dirty light brown/gray color where it appears as if they’ve had mud sprayed across their feathers.

You’ll find these herring gulls around coasts and inland around rubbish tips, fields, large reservoirs and lakes.

In regards to what these gulls eat, it tends to be carrion, offal, seeds, fruits, young birds, eggs, small mammals, insects and fish.

American herring gulls are know to live for around 30 years on average, with the longest recorded hitting 49 years of age.

6. White American Pelican (Pelecanus Erythrorhynchos)

American white pelican

  • Size: 130 – 160cm
  • Weight: 6 – 6.5kg
  • Wingspan: 260 – 290cm

American white pelicans will use the majority of Nevada when migrating but also stay in the northwest region of the state when breeding. 

These pelicans can be recognised by their mostly white plumage and extremely large bills. Females look vey similar to the males.

You’ll often spot these birds around lakes and rivers.

As for what they eat, it includes mostly fish of the rough kind that humans don’t typically capture, smaller amphibians and crayfish.

Wild American white pelicans are known to live for around 16 year in the wild whilst captive ones are known to be around the 30 – 35 year range.

7. Turkey Vulture (Cathartes Aura)

Turkey vulture

  • Size: 62 – 81cm
  • Weight: 1.5 – 2 kg
  • Wingspan: 1.6 – 1.8m

You’ll find turkey vultures across all of Nevada when they breed, typically encompassing the spring and summer months. 

Turkey vultures have a plumage that is mostly brownish/black in color with silver/gray lining on the underside of their wings adding a contrast to their overall appearance. The face is pink/red with elements of black on the head topped of with a pale white beak.

These scavengers are mono-morphic so they do look the same with the only differentiating aspect being their sexual organs.

Turkey vultures are scattered throughout north America where they can be found staying within open and forested habitats where they will also stay within lower elevation mountain ranges.

Carrion is a turkey vultures primary food source but, they do also eat dead reptiles, birds, amphibians and invertebrates. As a whole these vultures do prefer fresher carrion but, like other vultures they can consume the same carcass over several days.

Turkey vultures are known to live for around 16 years in the wild and up to 30 years in captivity.

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