In this guide, we’ll answer the question:
“What eats hawks?”
First, you’ll find a short summary of what animals eat hawks in the wild and then get a detailed list of hawk predators.
Hawks are predatory birds of prey of the family Accipitridae and vary greatly in size. Hawks live in many parts of the world and in a variety of climates including Central America, West Indies, and Jamaica.
The red-tailed hawk is the most common hawk in North America and the one that people are most familiar with worldwide.
The average lifespan of a hawk is 20 years.
What Eats Hawks?
Animals that eat hawks include crows, coyotes, eagles, foxes, owls, raccoons, and snakes. A hawk has very few natural predators due to its size, strength, and ability to fly.
Crows, particularly Carrion crows, are prime hawk predators that attack small and young hawks for food.
Crows also attack hawks because they see these birds of prey as a threat. A crow relies on its impeccable intelligence and mischievous nature to offend and pester predatory birds like the hawk.
Hawks are seemingly more powerful than crows, but they cannot defend themselves against a murder of crows (a special name given for this type of group).
In addition, crows rely on the mobbing tactic to harass hawks and drive them away to stay safe.
Coyotes are less picky animals in the animal kingdom because their diet comprises many things, ranging from grass to animal carcass.
Even though a fox prefers to prey on small animals, such as rabbits, these talented predators occasionally eats hawks when the opportunity presents itself.
However, because coyotes cannot easily catch a flying hawk, they target young, injured, or sick hawks that cannot fly off the ground.
Even though large and adult hawks can defend themselves against most bird attacks, they are no match for eagles.
According to this NPR article, bald eagles and red-tailed hawks fight each other to death because they are direct competitors for food.
An eagle can attack large hawks without fear because of its large hooked beaks, muscular legs, powerful talons, and unmatched strength.
In addition, eagles have extremely powerful eyesight.
But despite the eagles’ strength and hunting efficiency, they usually target hawk babies for food because they’re easier prey.
Foxes are opportunistic hunters and will feed on anything that they can catch, including hawks.
As omnivorous animals, a fox’s diet comprises small mammals and birds, insects, fruits, berries, and nuts.
Even though foxes are good hunters, they lack the skill to attack flying hawks; hence, they will typically feed on dead hawk carcasses lying on the ground.
Owls prey on hawks, especially at night when their sense of sight is high.
In addition to the eyesight, owls rely on their sensitive and directional hearing to locate concealed prey, such as baby hawks in their nests.
The Great Horned owl in particular is known to eat other raptors like hawks, even though hawks are not a primary food source for this owl species.
Despite their adept hunting skills and high senses, owls usually target baby hawks and their eggs rather than adult hawks
You may not think of raccoons as being prime animals that eat hawks but they do.
Raccoons are opportunistic hunters capable of climbing trees, which makes them potential hawk predators. This means a raccoon can easily look for baby hawks, eggs, and nestlings to attack in the trees.
Snakes, especially tree-climbing species, eat hawk eggs.
Snakes are excellent hawk nest hunters because they can silently climb a tree without being noticed by an adult hawk.
Even though red-tailed hawks are known to attack snakes, sometimes snakes end up killing adult hawks with their poison.
An interesting fact about red-tailed hawks published by the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine includes: “Occasionally, if it is not venomous, Red-tailed Hawks will kill a snake by flying it up into the air and letting gravity do the work for them by dropping the snake on a hard surface.”
What Do Hawks Eat?
Hawks are also predators that must prey on other animals to survive.
You can visit our other guide on what do hawks eat to find out more about what these birds feed on for nutrition.
Animals That Eat Hawks Summary
You now know what eats hawks in the wild and which species are the top hawk predators.
As you discovered in this guide, there are about 7 animals that eat hawks in nature. A hawk has very few enemies due to its large size, strength, and ability to fly.
I’m the lead editor and writer for Animal Answer Guide. I enjoy sharing expert knowledge on the various characteristics of common species within the five distinct groups of animals: amphibians, birds, fish, mammals, and reptiles.