What Do Hawks Eat | Hawks Feeding behavior and Diet

Like eagles hawks are large birds of prey primarily known for their fresh hunt. They are among the most potent predators. Hawks are carnivorous. They are known to rely on carrion for their consumption. Hawks also feed on truly putrid flesh. Crab hawk (Buteogallus aequinoctialis) is most likely to consume crabs at the coastal mangroves and as a result of which the bird earns its name.

What Do Hawks Eat

The white-necked hawk (Leucopternis lacernulata) seems to rely almost exclusively on insects. It rarely takes on vertebrates. The bat hawk (Macheiramphus alcinus) prey bats probably because they have a wide mouth to swallow it.

Cooper’s Hawk

  • The Cooper’s hawk (Accipiter cooperiik) is likely to ambush its prey by perching on a nearby site. It spots its prey which is mostly small bird or a small mammal. The bird eats red squirrels and chipmunks. Sometimes it drowns its prey in the watering hole. It takes a silent flight often chasing down birds swiftly. Their diet also includes bobwhite quails, robins, starlings and blackbirds.
  • Farmers also refer it a chicken hawk precisely because it also feeds on chicken from farm poultry.
  • The diet consists of cuckoos, woodpeckers, doves, quail, thrushes, jays, American robins, icterids, pigeons, ring-necked pheasants, and American kestrel.
  • The prey also includes small mammals such as hares, mice, bats, squirrels, and chipmunks.
  • Cooper’s hawk seldom feeds on snakes, lizards, and frogs.
  • It is known for its surprise attack.


Courtesy bonnietalluto.com
Courtesy bonnietalluto.com

African harrier Hawk

  • The African harrier hawk (Polyboroides typus) appears to take down elusive prey. Unlike other raptors the harrier hawk is able to bend its legs backward as well as forward so that it gets to the prey hidden in the crevices or holes.
  • It is a talented bird for it can move around the branches of trees or hangs upside down quite a while. It flies rather slowly along the hillside edges and searches very carefully for potential prey.
  • It is a small bird of prey and as such it consumes prey no greater than a lizard.

Red-tailed Hawk

  • Red-tailed hawk is an opportunistic bird and it feeds on reptiles, birds, and small mammals. Small mammals include ground squirrels, chipmunks, house mice, gophers, tree squirrels, and voles.
  • They supplement their diet with shrews, waterfowls, corvids, fish, insects, crustaceans, earthworms, bats, pigeons, quail, and lagomorphs.

Ferruginous hawk

Apart from medium sized mammals ferruginous hawk also feeds on small insects, birds, and reptiles. However mammals make up 80% of hawk’s diet.

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