Because of hawks’ size, strength and hunting capability, people often assume that hawks are always after prey and that they eat ten times a day! But is this true? How often do hawks eat? Today I’m going to clear all the misconceptions about hawks’ eating frequency.
Hawk’s eating frequency actually depends on several factors like hawk’s size, species, sex, availability of prey, prey’s size, breeding behavior and environment. A hawk needs 12-15% food of its body weight every day. If a hawk manages to hunt something bigger, that day it won’t chase another one. On the contrary, if the prey is small, a hawk will have to eat twice or thrice a day.
In this article, I’m going to break down everything about how much food a hawk needs per day, how often hawks eat and much more. So, stay tuned till the end to know everything about hawk’s eating and hunting frequency!
How Often Do Hawks Eat?
How often a hawk will eat actually depends on several factors. The size of predator and prey, availability of prey and season of the year or environment all these effects a hawk’s eating frequency. But typically, it will eat 1 to 3 times a day.
In the following part, I’ve discussed these factors in detail. Let’s jump to that!
1. Hawk’s Species
Hawk’s species is a big factor here. The largest hawk specie Ferruginous is about 3 pounds on average, whereas the smallest hawk specie, sharp-shinned, is 82 to 220g. So, larger hawks need larger meals, but they can go longer between meals than smaller species.
For instance, Red-tailed hawks may eat a medium-sized bird and not go after another prey for the next two days, whereas a Sharp-shinned hawk may eat a dove and go for eating the next day.
Female hawks are larger than males, which means they will need more calories. So naturally, a female hawk will eat more frequently than a male hawk.
3. Availability Of Prey
How often a hawk will eat depends on the availability of prey. If there is any easy prey in front of a hawk, it will surely take advantage of it and eat twice or thrice a day. On the contrary, if there is a scarcity of prey, hawks may have to manage 2 or 3 days with a single prey.
4. Prey’s Size
As I said before, a hawk needs 12-15% food of its body weight every day. If a single prey can meet this need, they won’t go for another prey that day. But if they prey on sparrows or young birds, they will have to eat two or three times a day.
5. Breeding Behavior
During the breeding season, hawks spend most of their time and energy on breeding displays, and they may eat less in search of mates.
6. Environment Or Season Of The Year
Hawks need to maintain their body temperature. For this reason, they need to spend more calories in winter. So, hawks need to eat more frequently in the winter months than in the summer.
So, as we can see, the eating habits of hawks and eating frequency can change depending on the environment and season of the year.
But as winter days are shorter, hawks don’t get much time to hunt. They have a hard time in the winter months.
How Much Do Hawks Need To Eat Per Day?
According to bird researchers, hawks need 12-15% of the food of their body weight every day. But the amount of food depends on the species, age and size of the hawk. Environment or season of the year is also a considerable factor here.
For instance, in a favorable environment, particularly in summer, an adult red-tailed hawk will eat 1 to 2 times a day, maybe 30-50g each. Two small-sized birds or a squirrel will do the work. But in winter, the amount will double to 70-100 g because they need to maintain their body temperature.
On the other hand, smaller hawks, spice-like sharp-shinned, will typically eat 2 to 4 small birds a day.
Do Hawks Have To Eat Every day?
Hawks don’t have to eat every day. In fact, they can survive almost two weeks without food.
But after that, their body will give up, and they may die from starvation. As hawks are great hunters, this scene is not common. But young hawks that have not developed good hunting skills yet can sometimes fall into such a situation.
Typically in a favorable environment, they can eat 1 to 5 times a day. However, the hawks are not picky. They eat everything that they can catch with their claws, from birds, rodents or mammals to insects or fish.
How often a hawk will eat actually depends on several factors, for instance, the hawk’s size, species, sex, availability of prey, prey’s size, breeding behavior and environment.
According to bird researchers, hawks need 12-15% of the food of their body weight every day. If a single prey can meet this need, it will not eat anything else that day. But if they prey on sparrows or young birds, they will have to eat two or three times a day.
However, hawks eating habits and frequency can change depending on the environment, breeding behavior and season of the year.