Do Hawks Eat Worms?

Hawks are one of the dominating birds in the sky. As they can adapt to the availability of food where they live, their diet list is quite long. Since they are strong predators, they usually prefer large prey. Do they also go for small creatures like worms? Do Hawks Eat Worms?

It actually depends on the species, food availability, and where they are living. For instance, Red Shouldered hawks are often seen to eat worms as they usually live in humid areas of forest, particularly near ponds or lakes where worms are mostly seen. But other large species like Cooper’s hawks or Red-tailed hawks are not seen to eat worms.

Hawk’s sharp eyesight, extraordinary hunting skill & style, and food habits are more than enough to attract the attention of bird lovers. If you are one of them, this article is going to give you some extra knowledge about the food habit of this fascinating bird. So keep reading till the end.

Which Species Of Hawks Eat Worms?

Which Species Of Hawks Eat Worms
Image Credit: northforklight, Canva

The hawks are adaptive. They survive on whatever food is available around them. But do they also eat tiny creatures like worms?

Let’s have a closer look at mostly seen hawks’ diets and find out whether they eat worms or not.

Red-Shouldered Hawks

When it comes to eating worms, then the name Red-shouldered hawks comes first. Why? Let’s see.

Red-shouldered hawks usually live in humid areas of forest, particularly near ponds or lakes. These places are ideal for worms. There is a dampish environment for earthworms and decaying trees and leaves for larvae and other kinds of worms.

As these tiny creatures are abundant, it’s natural for red-shouldered hawks to take advantage of them. Besides, worms are slow. They can’t run away like other predators. So they are the easiest prey for hawks.

Whenever they catch worms, they just swoop down lazily and pick them, unlike other usual prey. They don’t need to give extra effort to catch worms.

But there’s no need to assume that worms are their favorite picks. It’s just that there’s a good source of protein, so they grab it. As they are middle-sized, they usually like small mammals, reptiles, fish, or insects.

Red-Tailed Hawks

Red-Tailed hawks are relatively larger than other hawk species. They usually prefer bigger prey like rabbits, squirrels, birds, snacks, or reptiles. Sometimes they even snatch other predators’ prey. So are they even interested in tiny worms?

Worms are probably not in the diet of Red-Tailed hawks. As worms are tiny, they are not enough to satisfy the hunger of large hawks. These hawks would rather go for other prey.

Cooper’s Hawks

Cooper’s hawks also usually don’t eat worms. They need food around 12% of their body weight every day. So they need to hunt preys that are large and contain substantial amounts of protein, but worms can’t fulfill this need.

But occasionally, when substantial food sources are not available, Cooper’s hawk can eat worms. But they would need a lot of worms together to meet their nutritional need.

Mostly they prey on birds like doves, jays, robins, starlings, and thrushes. Small mammals like chipmunks and squirrels are also in their diet.

They wait for their prey sitting in high tree branches or densely covered areas. At first, they observe the prey and swoop down to it as soon as they get a chance. These predators hold their prey hard to kill it.

Sharp-Shinned Hawks

Sharp-shinned hawks are relatively small. As large hawks don’t prefer worms, it’s natural to assume that small species of hawks would like worms.

But that’s not the case here. Worms are not also sharp-shinned hawks’ preferred food. But during the rainy season, some of them have been seen eating worms. It’s like there are some crawling worms right in front, so they just grab them.

They usually prey on small birds like sparrows, wood warblers, finches, or tits.

Why Hawks Don’t Prefer Worms?

Do Hawks Eat Worms? 1
Image Credit: Nick N A, Shutterstock

Most of the hawk species are large in size. They need food around 12%-15% of their body weight each day. Small worms can’t fulfill their needs, and the protein from worms doesn’t even last long. So they are not on the list of hawks’ preferred food.

Moreover, hawks are known as bloodthirsty predators. They prefer prey like rabbits, squirrels, birds, snacks, or reptiles. This prey gives them enough meat or protein to live on.

Although few species have been seen to eat worms, the number is not much to say that worms are their preferable food. When there’s a scarcity of food, hawks can go for worms to survive. Or during the rainy season, when worms come out of the soil and crawl around in large numbers, then hawks can eat those.

Final Words

Worms are not hawk’s preferred food. But some species have been seen to eat worms, particularly Red-shouldered hawks. As these hawks live in a damp environment where worms are largely found, they take advantage of them. But they depend not only on those but also need more meat to survive.

Usually, hawks prey on rabbits, squirrels, mice, mammals, reptiles, snacks, and different species of birds.

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