Do Hawks Eat Coyotes?

If you are a bird watcher like me, hawks must be at the top of your interest. Most of us have many queries about the eating and hunting habits of this powerful and dominating bird. Let’s take a step forward and try to know a little more about this fascinating bird. Let’s find out today, do hawks eat coyotes?

Hawks can eat only young, injured, or dead coyotes. Adult coyotes are strong and intelligent. They have strong jaws to give the hardest punch and strong bites to tear off any predator. So hawks don’t try to hunt something that can cause them serious injury.

In this article, I’ve discussed whether hawks eat coyotes, can a hawk hunt a coyote, and some other interesting related topics. So stay tuned till the end to know everything about hawks eating coyotes.

Let’s get started.

Do Hawks Eat Coyotes?

Coyotes may not be a familiar animals to some of you. So before going into whether hawks eat coyotes or not, let’s get to know this animal.

Coyote belongs to the dog family, but it looks mostly like wolves. Maybe that’s why they are known as brush wolves or prairie wolves. They have grey to yellow colored skin with floppy tails and yellow eyes. They are mostly found in Central and Northern America.

Well, an adult Coyote can be 30 to 55 pounds on average. However, male coyotes are larger than females.

Ok, now let’s come to the main point. Do hawks eat coyotes?

Most of the largest hawks, including Red-tailed, Harris, Ferruginous, Northern Goshawks, and Cooper’s hawks, can hunt and eat baby coyotes. After birth, baby coyotes normally weigh around ½ pounds. Hawks can easily hunt something of this weight and carry it to their nest to enjoy it in peace.

If a baby coyote catches the eye of a hawk, it will perch on a nearby tall tree and keep an eye on its next prey. Hawks have been observed waiting for their prey even for 6 hours.

 As soon as the adult coyotes leave the scene to look for food, the hawk will step in and swoop down on the baby coyote. In a blink of an eye, the baby coyote will be in the talons of the hawk.

Hawks don’t prefer to feed on the ground because it exposes them to other predators. Instead,  hawks carry their prey and fly to any safe place to enjoy it in peace.

However, hawks are opportunities. They always look for easy prey. If they spot any injured or weak coyote, they will happily take advantage of it.

Anyway, hawks are also cannibals. Along with fresh meat, dead animals are also included in their diet. So if they find any dead coyote, they will jump in and enjoy that ready-made launch.

But you will never see hawks attacking any healthy adult coyote. They are intelligent enough not to go after such prey that can badly injure or even kill them. Seems like the hawks know their limits.

Which Type Of Hawk Can Hunt Coyotes?

Which Type Of Hawk Can Hunt Coyotes
Image Credit: Bethany Kays, Canva

As I told you before, hawks can hunt young, injured, or old coyotes. But some believe that several hawk species are able to hunt adult coyotes. They consider the following hawks as coyote predators:  

  • Red-tailed hawks
  • Harris hawks
  • Ferruginous hawks
  • Broad-Winged hawks
  • Northern Goshawks

But adult coyotes can be 20-50 pounds. Some are even bigger than this. Even if any hawk manages to do this kind of near-to-impossible hunt, it’s going be the toughest catch of this life.

I can’t even imagine a 3-pound hawk hunting something that is almost 8 times bigger than them. As we haven’t found any eyewitnesses, we can’t surely say that hawks are able to hunt adult coyotes.

Do Coyotes Eat Hawks?

Do Coyotes Eat Hawks
Image Credit: KellyvanDellen, Canva

Above I’ve talked about whether hawks can hunt or eat coyotes or not. But coyotes are 90 percent carnivores, and they can eat the flesh of any animal, from birds, rabbits, mice, squirrels, rats, snacks, and lizards to fish. So do coyotes eat hawks?

Of course, coyotes are not picky. If coyotes can catch a hawk, they will definitely eat it. Let’s see when coyotes get a chance to feast on a hawk:

  • After birth, baby hawks stay with their parents for 5 to 7 weeks. After this, they need to leave their nest and manage their food alone. These hawks are vulnerable to most predators, including coyotes.

As these hawks are not skilled enough, sometimes they fall to the ground due to not being able to fly well. Coyotes take advantage and eat it.

  • Old, weak, and injured hawks are the most helpless. If any coyote finds any of these in the ground, it will add them to its diet.
  • Dead hawks are a tempting and ready feast for all carnivores. Any coyote will surely take advantage of it.

Final Words

Hawks eat coyotes. But it would surely be a young, injured, or dead one. Adult coyotes are 8 to 10 times bigger than hawks. So it’s really tough for a hawk to prey on something like coyotes.

However, some believe that certain hawk species, including Red-tailed, Harris, Ferruginous, Northern Goshawks, and Cooper’s hawk, are strong enough to prey on an adult coyote.

The most interesting thing is coyotes can even eat hawks sometimes. They eat young, injured, old, and dead hawks.

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