The present study was undertaken to detect and characterize Newcastle disease virus (NDV) in raptors. Cloacal and oropharyngeal swab samples were collected from 60 casualty raptors during January to March 2009 in Minnesota. Inoculation of all these samples (n=120) in 9-day-old embryonated hens' eggs resulted in isolation of haemagglutinating viruses in three samples from two bald eagles and one great horned owl. These three haemagglutinating viruses were confirmed as NDV by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) using fusion gene-specific primers, and were negative for avian influenza virus by RTPCR. Further characterization revealed that all three possessed 112GKQGRL117 at the fusion gene cleavage site, indicating that they were lentogenic strains. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that all three isolates clustered with published class II genotype II NDVs. The nucleotide sequence homology of the three NDV isolates among themselves was 98.4 to 99.6% and the sequence homology with lentogenic strains from wild birds used for comparison varied between 94.5 and 100%. Detection of NDV strains from raptors merits further epidemiological studies to determine the prevalence of different NDV strains in raptors and their impact in relation to transmission to domestic poultry.