If you have any idea about hawk’s dining habits, you must know that small species of birds are one of the favorite catches of Hawks. And that makes many people wonder if doves are also on the list. Do hawks eat doves?
Doves are one of the favorite prey of hawks. Almost all species of hawks hunt and eat doves. When doves fly at full speed, they can outrun hawks. So Hawks always make a surprise attack on the dove so that it doesn’t get a chance to escape.
In this article, I will explain in detail why hawk preys on doves, which hawk species eat doves, do hawks also eat baby doves, and so on. So, if you are curious about this fascinating bird’s dining habits, stay tuned till the end.
Do Hawks Eat Doves?
Hawks always prefer small and easy prey. Doves are ideal in this case. They don’t have a strong defense to fight back any predator.
As a result, they become the most vulnerable prey for predators like hawks. In fact, they are one of the preferred prey of hawks.
Here are some possible reasons why doves are at the top of hawk’s preferred prey:
- Dove’s size can be an important factor here. Though its size differs according to species, on overage, an adult dove can be 9 to 13 inches in length and 85-170g in weight. However, hawks need 12-15% food of their body weight per day. So, an adult dove can perfectly fit their caloric needs.
- Doves generally prefer grain seeds and grass. They look for seeds by walking and pecking at the ground. They need 1500-2000 seeds per day to meet their caloric demands.
Hawks wait above, usually sitting on a high tree or peak, waiting for their chance to strike. When a dove lowers its head to eat the seeds, hawks make a surprise attack and squeeze it with their sharp curved talons.
- Another reason why doves are mostly hunted is their abundance. They are almost everywhere, especially in Europe and Asian countries. Hawks are adaptive birds. They can adjust to whatever is available in their habitat. If there is an abundance of doves, they can switch their diet and hunt doves regularly.
Which Hawk Species Eat Doves?
It’s a tricky question. Because hawks are adaptive birds, they can adjust to anything that is available in their habitat.
If there is an abundance of doves, any hawk species will switch their diet and hunt doves regularly. On the other hand, if there are no doves in a hawk’s habitat, it may never eat any dove in its lifetime.
Almost all hawk species can hunt and eat doves if there’s available one. Cooper’s hawks, Red-Shouldered, Red-Tailed, Ferruginous, and Sharp-shinned hawks, often hunt and eat doves. Here are some hawks that are mostly seen eating doves:
Cooper’s hawks are known as bird hunters. They prefer small to medium-sized birds like doves and woodpeckers. They can also catch squirrels, mice, frogs, or snacks.
Besides, they are highly opportunistic and adaptive. That means they can manage anything that is available in their area.
Red-tailed hawk prefers small birds like doves, sparrow, grasshoppers, and bugs. Sometimes they even hunt mammals and reptiles. According to location and eco-system, their food habit may change.
Sharp-shinned hawk is the smallest hawk species. They usually eat small hunts like sparrows, robins, lizards, and insects.
Sometimes female sharp-shinned hawks are seen hunting and eating young doves. As males are relatively small in size, they can’t prey on doves.
Do Hawks Eat Baby Doves Or Eggs?
Hawks are not picky hunters. They will hunt and eat anything that they can catch. Sometimes they attack bird’s nests and eat their babies and eggs. Baby doves can’t fly or escape from predators, so hawks can easily add them to their lunch.
Hawks also eat dove eggs. These are small, so hawks can easily swallow them.
Doves nest on the grounds, bushes, tree branches, palm fronds, or cornstalks. Hawks can easily detect them with their sharp eyesight, as they always fly high to look for their next meal.
Attacking a dove’s nest and hunting its baby doves is probably one of the easiest tasks for hawks. Usually, when a hawk attacks a bird’s nest, it waits for the adults to leave the spot. But in the case of doves, they don’t need to do that because even adult doves can’t fight back against them.
Do Hawks Eat Dead Doves?
Hawks are carnivores. Though healthy adult hawks prefer fresh meat, if there is any dead dove or even other animals, they won’t mind taking advantage and having it. It’s like a free fest where they don’t need to struggle to hunt the prey.
Particularly in winter, hawks are seen eating dead animals because preying in such a hostile environment is really tough.
Hawks eat doves. They are one of the preferred prey of hawks. As hawks don’t have a strong defense to fight back against any predator, they are the most vulnerable prey for hawks.
Doves generally prefer grain seeds and grass. When a dove lowers its head to eat the seeds, hawks make a surprise attack and squeeze it with their sharp curved talons. Hawks also attack dove’s nests and eat their babies and eggs. If there’s a scarcity of food, hawks will even eat dead doves.