Hawks are large birds of prey that catch, kill and eat smaller animals mostly birds but what do eat hawks?
Hawks are exceptional predators but is there a chance when they can be hunted? Where are hawks in the food chain? Do they have natural predators? How they become prey and lot more.
The Short Answer…
Hawks are excellent hunters. Therefore, hawk’s have very few natural predators that are eagles, bears and other hawks. However, their eggs and fledglings are often predated by a number of animals and birds. Some of the predators that prey on nestlings and eggs are raccoons, ravens, black bears, crow, humans.
Despite hawk’s nests are high up on the trees, predators prey on hawk’s eggs and nestlings that some of which are raccoons, crows and ravens, eagles, black bears, wild cats, large lizards, snakes, owls, and other hawks. If baby hawks are present in the nest, they will most likely be the first predated.
Where Are Hawks In The Food Chain?
If you’re a birder, you may probably know hawks are the predators of small mammals, especially small birds like pigeons. In the wild, every creature has predator (except few) however, some predators are prey of other predators in the food chain like birds that eat veggies like seeds, fruits, cheese, small insects, and fish are eaten by larger birds or other predators. These larger predators are then eaten by larger predators. But that’s the ends to the strongest and most powerful predators which is at the top of the chain. Still, the food chain differs a bit between land and aerial predators.
Interestingly, hawks are near the top of the food chain which means they are little or few natural predators in the wild and more prey to eat. But that doesn’t mean hawks are completely safe and out of danger. But there are only a few natural predators that would particularly hunt hawks. Other than that, every large predator, larger than hawk is a risk and fatal for hawks.
At the same time, due to the top of the chain, hawks have few predators but more prey so every smaller animal is prey for hawks. That ends with hawks are near the top of the food chain which is why they have fewer predators but lots of preys. In trader’s terms, risk to reward that is so crucial for every creature to take risk off of.
What Kinds of Animals Eat Hawk?
Every time we see a hawk, either it is predating or predated. However, it is very rare to hawks be hunted by a predator unless a hawk is ill or injured when they are weak. Just like most predators, hawks are perfect hunters but sometimes also become hunted. Despite hawks are near or at the top of the food chain, they have still a few natural predators that threaten them.
The natural predators that prey on hawks are mostly eagles, black bears, and larger hawks. But that’s not all the predators they have. Other than their natural predators, every large predator is a potential threat to hawks and can kill them.
There are very few animals that can prey on hawks but do not primarily feed on hawks due to hawks’ large size and their defensive prowess. In fact, most of the time hawks predators fight with hawk over food when hawk has caught prey, just like lions and hyenas, raccoons, and cats, wolves and coyotes. Once the predator takes the food from the hawk, it will escape with the food and won’t attempt to kill the hawk.
Other than that, predators may only come for hawks in extreme conditions like when food is scarce.
Another possible threat to hawks is parasites which can weaken or even kill a hawk if a lot. Hawks are keen enough to prevent parasites but it still becomes prey of parasites. In some time, a large amount of parasites will either wound hawks or maybe even kill.
Last but not least threat yet largest threat to hawks is humans. From habitat destruction to pollution to killing hawks for fur and feathers, humans are every destructive activity they want to.
However, the biggest yet most fatal threat to hawks is when they are young or baby hawks that are unable to fly and living in the nest. When it comes to their nest, hawks have plenty of predators for their nestlings. As baby hawks are weak and helpless and cannot fly, predators like raccoons, owls, bears and other hawks sometimes attack on their nest.
But hawks have an amazing sense of sight and hearing that is eight times better than human eyes. When a predator attacks on the nestlings, the baby hawks will cry and make high pitch sound that the parent hawk often hears and save them.
Why Hawk Are Not The Primary Source of Food For Predators?
While hawks are prey for predators, are hawks the primary prey option for predators? Here’s why or why not.
Not only hawks but if you have noticed in the wild, predators most of the time do not hunt other predators for food like lions hunt deers, impala, and other herbivores animals. Even though lions are the strongest, why don’t they just hunt tigers, hyenas, or any other predators? That is because it takes more effort to hunt down another predator instead of a typical prey like impala, and at the same time, it makes less energy from eating a predator compared to a typical prey.
If you don’t know about energy distribution, here’s how energy flow becomes less and less with every consumer.
What Else Eat Hawks?
Ground predators like foxes, wolves, cats, snakes and wild dogs put hawks in endangered if hawks are on the ground. Sick, injured, and baby hawks that cannot fly are pretty vulnerable to these ground predators and any of those can eat hawks pretty easily if they are unable to fly.
Despite the natural predators, these are the secondary threats to these bird of prey. Those are some of the most threatening predators to hawks but that is only a small part and any larger predator is a threat and concern to the hawks that should be aware of.
Nonetheless, hawks are also among the rule of the wild. For example, if a hawk is alone, a group of smaller predators can take down hawk without a problem. That is even true for lions and other powerful predators like if a lion is alone within a group of hyenas or even wild dogs, it is very likely to be hunted by the smaller one.
Are Hawks The Apex Predator?
Since hawks are at the top of the food chain, haws are considered to be among apex predators. If you take a look at the food chain pyramid, it starts with the base layer which is plants, fruits and vegetables that is consumed by herbivores that are consumed by omnivores and lastly that are consumed by carnivores or apex predators.
The apex predators are not typically consumed by any other animals and are only hunted during extreme conditions like food crises or if they are ill, injured, or still very young. Instead, they hunt many species down in the food chain.