Hawks are carnivorous birds of prey, who eat a variety of small animals and mammals that are easy to snatch. In fact, they even eat other birds. Therefore, you may wonder: if hawks keep their feathered friends as a menu option, does this include blackbirds?
Technically, hawks will eat any animal they can catch (or stumble across), as they feed opportunistically. However, they definitely defer to small mammals and birds — anything that doesn’t put up too much of a fight. Because, while they are skilled hunters, they definitely prefer easy meals.
So yes, hawks will eat blackbirds. In fact, the sparrowhawk is one of the blackbirds’ most common predators.
But what types of blackbirds will hawks eat? Can blackbirds protect themselves against these large falcons? If you’d like to find out, keep reading!
What Types of Blackbirds Will Hawks Hunt?
Currently, there are five known blackbirds that hawks will potentially hunt. They are as follows:
The American blackbird is a type of genuine thrush. The American blackbird is tracked down in North and Central America.
These birds are known to eat bugs, organic products, and seeds. Birds of prey, such as hawks, have been known to eat American blackbirds.
The European blackbird is a species of true thrush. This species is found in Europe, Asia, and Africa. These birds are known to eat raisins, fruits, and seeds.
Australian blackbirds are another kind of great thrush. They are found in Australia and Tasmania, and their eating routine comprises insects, organic products, and seeds.
New Zealand Blackbird
This type of blackbird, as the name suggests, can be found in New Zealand, and its diet includes insects, fruits, and seeds.
The Jamaican blackbird is found in the Caribbean island of Jamaica. These birds are also true throw-up, and their diet includes insects, fruits, and seeds.
Do Blackbirds Mess With Hawks?
Hawks may be apex predators, but that doesn’t mean their prey go down without a fight. In fact, there are plenty of birds that have a natural inclination to defend themselves against predation.
Blackbirds, in particular, are known for passively attacking hawks and encouraging them to flee, meaning they’re able to hold their own during a hunt. Blackbirds will fight back against hawks for the following reasons:
To Protect Their Young From Being Eaten
Hawks will typically eat small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds. If a blackbird has chicks, it will do everything in its power to protect them from being eaten by a hawk.
To Protect Their Territory From Hawks
Another reason blackbirds might mess with hawks is to protect their territory from these predators. Hawks are known to hunt in areas where there are blackbirds.
So, if the blackbirds feel like their territory is being threatened, they will do everything they can to protect it.
To Get the Hawk Away From Their Nest
If a hawk is bothering a blackbird’s nest, the blackbird will fight back, usually by flying close to the hawk and squawking at it.
To Distract the Hawks From Food
While the hawk is distracted by the blackbird, the blackbird’s mate will steal the food that the hawk has caught. This is a sneaky way for these birds to get food while also protecting their territory.
These are just a few of the reasons why blackbirds might mess with hawks. As you can see, hawks and blackbirds have a complicated relationship that is not completely one-sided (even if hawks have a clear advantage).
Will Blackbirds Chase a Hawk?
Now that we know why blackbirds might mess with hawks, you might wonder if they will actually chase a hawk. Well, perhaps surprisingly, blackbirds have been known to chase hawks, a behavior that has been observed both in the wild and in captivity.
There are many reasons why blackbirds might chase a hawk, but one of the most common reasons is to protect their young from being eaten.
Do Hawks Eat Baby Blackbirds?
Hawks will typically eat small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds, as they are easy to prey on. Therefore, if a hawk finds a nest of blackbird chicks, it will most likely eat them.
Do Hawks Eat Blackbird Eggs?
These birds of prey don’t simply eat the child blackbirds, but they will also eat the eggs. Indeed, hawks regularly eat little well-evolved creatures, reptiles, creatures of land and water, and as we’ve established, other birds.
There are two specific species of hawk that will feast on blackbird eggs. These are as follows:
The American Kestrel
The American kestrel is a small falcon and can be found in North and South America. They eat small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds, and have been known to eat blackbird eggs.
Merlin hawks are small falcons that can be tracked down in North America, Europe, and Asia. They eat little warm-blooded animals, reptiles, creatures of land and water, and birds, and have been known to eat blackbird eggs.
As we can see, hawks will eat many birds, and blackbirds are no exception. However, blackbirds have also been known to follow hawks in sequence, making them tough opponents for these beautiful raptors. So, if you see a hawk in pursuit of a blackbird while out in nature, you may be a witness to a true fight between predator and prey!