Hawks are one of the magnificent and dominating birds in the sky. With their acute sense of sight, hearing, hunting skills, and speedy flight, they can easily hunt any birds or animals that are smaller than them. But are they able to hunt something larger than them, like foxes? Do hawks eat foxes? Let’s break it down.
It’s obvious that hawks can’t prey on any healthy adult foxes as foxes are 6 to 8 times larger than a hawk. But whenever they get a weak, injured or young fox, they will attack it and enjoy its meat. As scavenger hawks will also take advantage of dead ones, particularly in winter.
In this article, I’ve discussed when hawks eat foxes or if hawks hunt adult foxes and much more about this topic. So stay tuned till the end to know these answers. Let’s get started.
When Hawks Eat Foxes?
Eating a fox is not a daily occurrence in a hawk’s life. So when hawks eat foxes?
Usually, hawks prefer small birds, mammals, and rodents in their diet.
But we all know that hawks are opportunists. They will eat anything that they can catch in their claws.
Sometimes, hawks have been seen eating foxes. So let’s see when hawks get the chance to hunt and eat a fox.
A vixen usually gives birth to three to five cubs or baby foxes at once. The average weight of a newborn fox cub is 50-150 grams. In the first two weeks, they can’t hear, see or move much. In this phase, the mother fox hardly leaves them.
If hawks can find them alone, they quickly swoop down and snatch these cubs and fly high.
However, after 3 months, they become strong enough to go hunting with their parents. It’s the time when most of the young foxes become a victim of predators, including hawks, eagles, coyotes, and others.
Foxes often get attacked by lions, leopards, bears, and other large predators. Sometimes they lose their life, and sometimes even if they survive, they get badly injured.
Predators always look for such opportunities to hunt injured animals where they don’t need to struggle much. In such conditions, hawks can take advantage of the fox and enjoy its meat.
In wildlife, only the strongest survive. So the old and weak foxes become easy prey for all predators. Large hawk species like ferruginous or ted-tailed hawks can hunt those foxes and eat them.
As we all know, hawks are scavengers. If they find any dead animals, they will happily join that free fest. Particularly in winter, hawks are seen eating dead animals because, in such weather, prey are rarely found.
Sometimes when hunters eat their prey, hawks are seen sitting in the tree, waiting for that predator to leave the scene. As soon as it leaves, hawks come down and look for leftovers. If there’s any, they will eat it doesn’t matter if it’s of a fox or other animals.
Can Hawks Hunt Foxes?
It actually depends on the fox’s age and health condition and also the hawk’s specie itself. As I told you before, hawks can hunt young, injured, and weak foxes.
But can they even hunt a healthy adult fox?
Depending on the species, the average weight of an adult fox can be 8-30 pounds while the largest hawk- Ferruginous can be 4 to 5 pounds at the highest.
So it’s not easy for even the largest hawk to hunt a healthy adult fox, let alone the small hawk species.
Besides, fox usually prefers to hide in daylight to escape predators. Their eyesight is so acute that they can also see clearly at night. But hawks prey in daylight. So these two don’t encounter much.
Does Fox Eat Hawks?
Hawks are deadly creatures. They are one of the dominating birds in the sky. They are known for their excellent hunting skill and keen sense of sight. But all this doesn’t mean they don’t have any predators.
There are some conditions where this hunter becomes hunted.
Foxes are good hunters. Though they usually go for easy and small prey, when there is a shortage of food, they won’t back off to take a chance on larger ones.
But they are intelligent enough not to encounter any adult hawks.
They target baby hawks who are not able to fly yet. They look for hawks and other bird’s nests that are not too high. They wait on the ground for adult hawks to leave the nest. As soon as they get the chance, they swoop down.
Foxes are notorious for sneaking up into others birds’ nests and eating their eggs and babies.
What Are Hawk’s Preferred Prey?
As foxes are not hawk’s regular and preferred prey then, what are hawk’s preferred food? What do they eat every day to survive? Well, this depends on some factors, for instance, hawk specie, availability of food, and location also.
Large hawk species like Red-tailed, Ferruginous, or Cooper’s hawk prefer medium-sized prey like birds, rabbits, squirrels, etc. As hawks are diurnal, they prey on animals that are active during this time.
In contrast, those hawks that live near seas or islands have adapted to that environment by eating fish, crabs, small turtles, and amphibians. They also dine on carrion or dead animals.
As I’ve said before, hawks eat young, injured, and weak foxes. As scavenger hawks also take advantage of dead ones.
But they can’t prey on healthy adult foxes as they are almost 6-8 times larger than hawks. Depending on the species, the average weight of an adult fox can be 8-30 pounds while the largest hawk- Ferruginous can be 4 to 5 pounds at the highest. The small hawk species can be 1-3 pounds at the highest.
Sometimes, this hunter can also become hunted. Foxes can sneak up on hawk’s nests and eat their eggs and babies.