Fauna of New York City

By | August 25, 2020

People’s ideas of New York City are often focused on the towering, imposing, skyscrapers, dazzling lights, and the urbanization; the concrete labyrinths. However, when 14% of the entire city is comprised of parkland, there’s plenty of space in which urban wild- and plant-life can thrive. Meet the rich fauna of New York City. 

Birds of a feather

Over two hundred species of birds visit (or reside in, full-time!) Central Park – far more than what the Central Park Zoo has to offer – making birdwatching a beloved pastime for many a New Yorker. As an added bonus, potential sightings change depending on the time of year so you won’t be left wanting, regardless of the season. It’s estimated that a day’s worth of bird watching could amount to over 100 species sighted by the most dedicated of birdwatchers.  Some of the writer’s favorite Central Park birds include the red-tailed hawk (which could be spotted nesting on 5th Avenue), the northern shoveler, the blue-headed vireo, and the tufted titmouse. And that’s just birds.


The land walkers (or not, in the case of bats – they’re both a mammal and an exception, okay?) of the animal kingdom are also well-represented within Central Park (and New York City in general). As of 2013, there are approximately ten species of mammals present in the park. Some of the most notable representatives are bats, coyotes, squirrels, skunks, foxes, and raccoons. 

Coyotes and bats have had their reputations worsened as of late – the former have been victims of rumors of aggression towards people. The latter, with the whole coronavirus thing going on, has managed to give people quite the scare. All of it is highly unwarranted. 


Bats are mainly nocturnal and their roosts can be found high-rises, tall trees, and dark crevices. They can be spotted flying around after sundown. And also, the poor misjudged animals rarely transmit dangerous viruses. Bats are one of the few animals actually capable of properly adapting to the human encroachment. Parks are often like heaven for them. We also rarely cross paths with them, with bats relying on acoustics during the night and humans relying on their sight during the day.


Coyotes are often thought of as aggressive and territorial but we couldn’t be farther from the truth. Contrary to popular belief, they’re fairly tame – only a few handfuls of coyote bites are reported per year. Most aren’t even remotely interested in people. Their diet shifts according to whatever is available throughout the year. It could include birds, rodents, insects, or even vegetation. Seeing one for the first time could be exhilarating or alarming. However, it’s important to keep in mind that they’re (for the most part) friends, not foes.

To wrap it up, this is only a tiny amount of the fauna in New York City or within Central Park in particular. There is a lot more to be said and a ton more species to be explored. That says a lot, considering we haven’t even touched upon the topic of flora!

Meet the fauna of New York with Central Park Tours and their great offers for biking, walking, and pedicab tours.

Broadway adds a more of a mystical addition to the fauna of New York – talking goats, cats, and more!

We met the fauna of the Central Park Zoo, too. But is it among the best picture locations in the Park? As a matter of fact, NYC provides a lot of great picture locations. And Central Park is not only a picture spot. You can do a lot of things there.