What Do Hawks Eat? Find Out What These Birds of Prey Feast On

Are you wondering who dares to hunt the fierce hawk? Despite their prowess, hawks are not at the top of the food chain. This blog post explores eight surprising animals that can turn the tables on these skilled predators.

Discover which creatures have what it takes to prey on a hawk, and keep reading for some eye-opening wildlife insights!

Key Takeaways

  • Eagles, raccoons, snakes, wolves, red foxes, owls, coyotes, and other hawks are predators that target and consume hawks. These animals pose significant threats to hawk populations in various ecosystems.
  • Factors such as size and body mass, talon strength, predator strategiessickness or injury of hawks influence their vulnerability to predation by these predators.
  • Human-related threats like habitat destruction, pesticide use, and collisions with man-made structures also impact hawk populations. Conservation efforts and further research are essential for protecting the survival of these majestic birds in their natural habitats.

What Eats Hawks? 8 Predators That Target and Consume Hawks

Eagles, raccoons, snakes, wolves, red foxes, owls, coyotes and other hawks are all known to target and consume hawks as part of their natural predatory behavior.


Eagles are strong raptors and often hunt for other birds, including hawks. They have sharp talons and powerful bodies. This makes them one of the top predators in the sky. Big eagles can catch smaller hawks with ease.

The hawk might be flying or resting when the eagle strikes.

Sometimes, young hawks or sick ones become easy targets for eagles. As carnivores, these large birds will take any chance to grab a meal. Their hunting skills help control the number of hawks and keep nature balanced.


Raccoons are skilled opportunistic predators recognized for their adaptability. They’re omnivorous creatures that aren’t hesitant to take advantage of a bird’s nest, particularly when eggs or hatchlings are within reach.

With their dexterous paws and sharp teeth, raccoons can easily raid a hawk’s nest in search of an easy meal, posing a threat to the nesting sites of these birds of prey. These cunning mammals often hunt at night, making them elusive during predation activities on hawks and their vulnerable young.


Snakes are one of the natural predators of hawks. They use their powerful bodies and stealth to surprise and overpower their prey, including hawks. Snakes have sharp teeth and strong jaws that help them to inject venom or constrict their prey, making them a formidable threat to hawks in the wild.

Moving on from the threat posed by snakes, let’s discuss another key predator of hawks: wolves.


Wolves are known to be formidable hunters and they pose a significant threat to hawks. Their pack-based hunting strategies, powerful jaws, and exceptional speed make them efficient predators in the wild.

Hawks can fall victim to wolves when they are vulnerable during flight or resting on the ground. Due to their opportunistic nature, wolves will not pass up the chance for an easy meal, which may include hawks.

The presence of wolves in ecosystems where hawks reside adds pressure on these birds as they have yet another apex predator to watch out for. This dynamic illustrates the complex interplay between carnivorous animals within an ecosystem and highlights the various factors influencing hawk predation as part of wildlife predation dynamics.

Red Foxes

Among the diverse predators of hawks, red foxes stand out as opportunistic hunters. These cunning canines use their remarkable speed and agility to ambush unsuspecting hawks or raid their nests.

Red foxes are skillful enough to take advantage of injured or sickly hawks, making them a significant threat in the hawk’s natural ecosystem. With their keen hunting instincts and adaptability, red foxes pose a formidable challenge to the safety of hawks in the wild.

Moving on from wolves, another noteworthy predator that preys on hawks is the red fox.


Owls are skilled hunters, using their sharp talons and exceptional night vision to target and capture prey. They are proficient at hunting small to medium-sized birds, including hawks.

Due to their silent flight and stealthy approach, owls can catch hawks by surprise. Their ability to camouflage within trees also gives them an advantage when ambushing hawks from a concealed position.

Owls play a significant role in the predator-prey relationship with hawks, often being one of the top avian predators that pose a threat to these magnificent birds of prey. With their predatory instincts finely tuned, owls remain formidable threats to the survival of hawks in various ecosystems.


Owls are skilled hunters, but they aren’t the only ones that pose a threat to hawks. Coyotes also hunt and consume hawks. Although coyotes primarily prefer small mammals like rodents, rabbits, and birds, when the opportunity arises, they will target larger prey such as hawks.

Their adaptability and opportunistic nature make them capable predators in various ecosystems.

Coyotes often hunt alone or in pairs using their keen senses of sight, smell, and hearing to locate potential prey. Their ability to work together in a coordinated manner enables them to take down larger animals like hawks.

Other Hawks

Hawks can also fall prey to their own kind. This occurs when competing for territory or during mating season. When food is scarce, stronger hawks may attack and consume weaker ones in a struggle for survival.

While hawks are dominant predators, they are not immune from threats, including other hawks that pose a challenge to their existence and place in the ecosystem. Understanding these dynamics helps in comprehending the complex nature of the predator-prey relationship among hawks.

– Factors Influencing Hawk Predation

Factors Influencing Hawk Predation

Factors such as size and body mass, talon strength, sickness or injury, predator strategies, and human-related threats can all play a role in influencing hawk predation.

Size and body mass

Hawks vary in size and body mass, with different species ranging from small to large. The larger hawks, such as the Red-tailed Hawk and Ferruginous Hawk, are less vulnerable to predation due to their larger size and strength.

They can effectively defend themselves against smaller predators like snakes or foxes. Conversely, smaller hawk species like the Sharp-shinned Hawk or Cooper’s Hawk are more susceptible to predation due to their relatively smaller size and lighter body mass.

Size also plays a role in determining the ideal prey for a hawk. Larger hawks can take down larger prey such as rabbits or squirrels, while smaller hawks target birds and rodents that are proportionate to their own size.

Talon strength

When it comes to predation, talon strength plays a crucial role for animals preying on hawks. Predators with powerful talons such as eagles and owls can easily catch and overpower hawks in mid-air or on the ground.

This strength gives them an advantage in hunting and catching their prey, making hawks vulnerable to these formidable predators with strong gripping abilities.

In addition to body mass and size, talon strength is a key factor influencing the success of predators targeting hawks. The ability to effectively grasp and hold onto their prey allows these predators to hunt and consume hawks as part of their hunting and feeding habits.

Sickness or injury

Hawks that are sick or injured become vulnerable to predation. When a hawk is not in optimal health, it may struggle to defend itself or fly quickly to escape from predators. Other animals can detect this weakness and take advantage of the opportunity to hunt the weakened hawk.

Sickness or injury makes hawks an easier target for their natural predators, such as eagles, raccoons, snakes, wolves, red foxes, owls, coyotes, and even other hawks. Conservation efforts should focus on monitoring and aiding sick or injured hawks to ensure their survival in the wild.

Next – Predator strategies

Predator strategies

When hawks face predators, they rely on several strategies to evade or defend themselves. These birds are agile flyers, using their speed and maneuverability to escape from larger predators like eagles and owls.

Additionally, hawks use camouflage when nesting and hunting to blend into their surroundings, making it harder for potential threats to spot them. Furthermore, hawks have sharp talons and beaks that they use to fight off attackers if necessary.

Considering the relentless pressures of predation and other factors impacting hawk populations emphasizes the importance of understanding these predator-prey relationships. In order to effectively conserve these majestic creatures in the wild, it’s essential to continue researching how hawk species interact with their predators within diverse ecosystems.

Human-related threats

Human-related threats to hawks include habitat destructionpesticide use, and collisions with man-made structures. Urbanization leads to loss of suitable hunting grounds for hawks, forcing them into closer proximity with humans and increasing the risk of accidental poisoning from pesticides.

Additionally, power lines and vehicles pose significant risks to these birds as they fly low or hunt in open fields near roads.

Conservation efforts should focus on mitigating these human-related threats by implementing measures such as raptor-friendly farming practices, creating wildlife corridors, and promoting awareness about the impact of human activities on hawk populations.

Conservation and Future Research

Conservation efforts play a crucial role in ensuring the survival of hawk populations. Protecting their natural habitats from human-related threats is essential for their well-being.

Moreover, conducting further research on predator-prey relationships and the impact of environmental changes on hawk predators can provide valuable insights for conservation strategies.

It is important to understand these dynamics to develop effective measures that safeguard hawks and maintain ecological balance.

Moving forward in our exploration, we will delve into the concluding section, highlighting key takeaways about hawk predation and its implications for wildlife conservation.


In conclusion, various predators like eagles, raccoons, snakes, wolves, red foxes, owls, coyotes, and other hawks target and consume hawks. Factors such as size and body mass, talon strength and strategies used by the predators influence hawk predation.

Human-related threats also pose a risk to hawks. Conservation efforts and future research are crucial for understanding and protecting these majestic birds in their natural habitats.


1. What animals eat hawks?

Other big predatory animals, like eagles and sometimes owls, eat hawks.

2. Can bigger birds be predators to hawks?

Yes, large birds such as other hawks or eagles can target and consume smaller or younger hawks.

3. Are there any animals on the ground that might eat a hawk?

Sometimes, if a hawk is on the ground or injured, larger animals like wild cats or wolves might attack it.

4. Is it common for hawks to have predators?

It’s not very common because hawks are strong flyers and careful hunters. But in nature’s predator-prey relationship, even they sometimes get hunted.

Julian Goldie - Owner of ChiperBirds.com

Julian Goldie

I'm a bird enthusiast and creator of Chipper Birds, a blog sharing my experience caring for birds. I've traveled the world bird watching and I'm committed to helping others with bird care. Contact me at [email protected] for assistance.