do hawks eat possums

Do Hawks Eat Possums? (Species + Other FAQs)

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Hawks are aerial predators, known for their sharp eyesight and hunting skills. While there are many species of hawks, they all share similarities, such as their diets. Although the actual menu may vary, all hawks are carnivores, which means they eat other wild animals.

But what kinds of animals? For instance, do hawks eat possums? To learn the answer, along with other related facts, keep reading below!

Do Hawks Hunt and Eat Possums?

Hawks are natural predators and opportunistic feeders who will eat many foods, provided they are within the vicinity of an animal and are able to catch them.

While you may think that a possum’s large size may act as a deterrent, hawks will still catch and eat them if the opportunity arises.

However, hawks don’t hunt possums that often. Typically, hawks prefer to eat smaller animals and critters that they can easily overpower.

That said, if a hawk is hungry enough and there isn’t any easy prey nearby, it may exert more energy to snatch a possum.

When Do Hawks Eat Possums?

Hawks typically hunt during the day, as they can see their prey better in the daylight. In fact, it’s very uncommon for a hawk to be seen pursuing their feed at night.

That being said, possums don’t usually promenade during the day but are actually nocturnal creatures. So, on the rare occasion when a hawk is hunting at night, that would likely be the time for a possum to become its dinner.

Which Hawks Eat Possums?

While possums aren’t the go-to food for hawks in general, there are some species of this bird that will eat a possum if prompted. Let’s examine these further:

Buteo swainsoni

Buteo swainsoni

The Buteo swainsoni is a species of hawk that is known to eat possums on occasion. This type of hawk is found in North America, namely the western United States and Canada.

Buteo swainsoni hawks typically prey on small mammals like rodents or hares, but they will also eat larger prey like rabbits and squirrels, in addition to possums.

Parabuteo unicinctus

Parabuteo unicinctus

The Parabuteo unicinctus, otherwise called the single bird, is another type of falcon that has been known to eat possums.

This type of bird of prey is tracked down in North and South America. Similar to the Buteo swainsoni, the Parabuteo unicinctus regularly goes after little vertebrates like rodents or rabbits. That said, they will also eat bigger prey such as bunnies and squirrels.

Geranoaetus melanoleucus

Geranoaetus melanoleucus

The Geranoaetus melanoleucus is a dark-chested scavenger bird, a sort of hawk that is tracked down in South America.

This type of falcon commonly goes after little vertebrates like rodents or birds. However, they will also eat reptiles, creatures of land and water, and fish, along with possums.

Spizaetus Tyrannus

The Spizaetus Tyrannus, also known as the black-and-white hawk-eagle, is a type of hawk that is found in Central and South America.

This species of hawk ordinarily preys on small mammals such as rodents or birds. However, they will also eat reptiles, amphibians, and fish, in addition to pursuing possums.

Harpyhaliaetus solitarius

The Harpyhaliaetus solitarius, generally called the single hawk, is a commonly spotted bird of prey tracked down in Central and South America.

Like most hawks, this bird normally goes after small critters like rodents or birds, but on occasion, they will eat possums if the need arises.

Do Hawks Eat Baby Possums?

Typically, hawks don’t eat baby possums, but on the off chance that a hawk is hunting during the evening, it may be inclined to go after one.

Actually, given that baby possums are small and easier to bring down, they make great prey for these raptors.

Do Hawks Eat Dead Possums?

If the opportunity arises, hawks will eat dead possums. While they prefer live prey, they’re also scavengers, so hawks will eat dead animals when available.


Overall, while hawks may find occasion to feast on a possum, this isn’t common or expected behavior from this bird species. So, if you as a birder ever see a hawk pursuing a possum, you’re witnessing a true rarity!

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