What Do Hawks Eat? (Hawk Diet and Favorite Food)

In this article, we’ll answer the question:

“What do hawks eat?”

First, you’ll find a short summary of what hawks eat in nature, then get a list of a hawk’s favorite foods that make up a typical hawk diet. And finally, answers to common questions about hawk feeding habits and nutrition.

Hawks are carnivorous birds of prey of the family Accipitridae within the class Aves in the order Accipitriformes. Hawks can live anywhere are commonly found in North America, Central America, the West Indies, and Jamaica.

What Do Hawks Eat
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What Do Hawks Eat?

Hawks eat small mammals, birds, reptiles, mice, rabbits, voles, squirrels, various insects, invertebrates, and carrion. A hawk’s diet is determined by the availability of prey in its habitat.

Hawk Diet (Favorite Food)

  • Birds
  • Chipmunks
  • Crayfish
  • Crickets
  • Dragonflies
  • Frogs
  • Grasshoppers
  • Lizards
  • Mice
  • Moths
  • Prawns
  • Rabbites
  • Rats
  • Squirrels
  • Snakes
  • Voles

How Often Does a Hawk Eat?

A hawk often eats about every one to three days but can sometimes eat several times a day if the prey is small. A hawk’s eating frequency depends on the time of the year, availability of prey in the habitat, and prey size.

How Much Do Hawks Eat Per Day?

A hawk eats around 12-15% of its body weight each day. According to National Geographic, an adult hawk weighs between 24 to 51 ounces, translating to approximately 140 grams of food each day.

How Long Can Hawks Live Without Food?

Hawks can live without food for 3 days under optimal conditions. The duration that a hawk can survive without food varies from one species to another, although most species have a high metabolic rate, explaining why they cannot live for long without food.

Do Hawks Eat Bird Seed?

Hawks do not eat bird seed but will favor a habitat that includes a feeder with birdseed that attracts small birds. A hawk will actively prey on birds that eat seeds because they are carnivorous animals.

According to the National Wildlife Federation, “hawks hunt small to medium-sized birds, the size of most feeder birds, as well as mice and chipmunks, animals also drawn to feeders to feast on spilled seeds.”

Do Hawks Eat Their Prey Alive?

Hawks do eat their prey alive and will also dine on carrion (dead animals). A hawk eating its prey while still alive is common in nature if the prey doesn’t protest, but the prey will eventually die from blood loss or organ failure.

Do Hawks Eat Owls?

Hawks do eat owls but typically only prey on an owl during a territory dispute during the day. A hawk is diurnal and relies heavily on its sight to find prey, making it difficult for hawks to hunt and eat owls at night when they are most active.

What Animals Eat Hawks?

Hawks are prey to a number of different species.

You can visit our other guide on what animals eat hawks to find out which predators actively feed on these birds.

Hawk diet

Hawk Eating Habits and Diet Summary

You now know what do hawks eat in the wild as well as the typical food in a hawk diet.

As you discovered in this guide, hawks are carnivores that prey on various species for nutrition with a hawk’s favorite food being things like small mammals, birds, and reptiles.