Do Hawks Eat Woodpeckers? Plus Other Facts You May Not Know!

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Hawks are predatory birds who feast mainly on small mammals, reptiles, and even other birds.  With that knowledge, you may be wondering: do hawks eat woodpeckers as well?

The answer? Yes! Hawks prey on dozens of smaller birds, and that includes woodpeckers

That makes hawks different from humans, as it’s actually illegal for humans to catch or harm woodpeckers for almost any reason. Yes, that’s right woodpeckers are a protected species.  But the wild is a lawless place, meaning that woodpeckers are fair game for other animals. In this case, we mean hawks. 

Here are a few more facts about the relationship between hawks and woodpeckers. 

Are Hawks Afraid Of Woodpeckers?

Hawks may eat woodpeckers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they prefer them.

Hawks have a natural aversion to loud noises, and woodpeckers are noisy birds. You know, given all the pecking they do, which is their primary form of communication. 

Hawks will usually only approach a woodpecker if they are very hungry and there is no other food available. Even then, they will be very cautious and will keep their distance as much as possible. So, while hawks may not be afraid of many things, they definitely have a healthy respect for woodpeckers.

Do Hawks Prey On Pileated Woodpeckers?

Pileated woodpeckers are the largest species of woodpeckers. They’re similarly sized to crows, a hawk’s natural enemy. And, as a matter of fact, they are often mistaken for hawks as well. 

However, there are several key differences between the two birds. Hawks typically have shorter beaks and longer tails than woodpeckers.

They also typically have more streamlined bodies, which helps them to fly more effortlessly through the air. In addition, hawks typically hunt alone, while woodpeckers often travel in pairs or small groups.

Because of their similar size and appearance,  it’s normal to wonder if hawks prey on pileated woodpeckers. The short answer is yes, hawks do prey on pileated woodpeckers. Hawks will eat anything it thinks it can conquer — including pileated woodpeckers. 

However, woodpeckers aren’t their first choice in a meal, hawks prefer easy meals. 

While it is true that hawks do prey on woodpeckers, they are not the only predators that these birds need to watch out for. Snakes, squirrels, and other birds of prey can also pose a threat to woodpeckers. As a result, these birds have developed a number of adaptations for avoiding predators (like building their nests in cavities high up in trees).

Do Hawks Eat Baby Woodpeckers?

Most people associate hawks with prey like rodents and rabbits, but these powerful predators will also eat other birds — including woodpeckers.

Baby woodpeckers, in particular, are vulnerable to attack from hawks, as they are not yet able to fly and lack the adult bird’s defenses.

While hawks typically prefer to hunt their own prey, they will take advantage of an easy meal if they come across a nest of baby woodpeckers.

In order to protect their young, parents will often try to distract the hawk while the babies escape. However, if the hawk is able to catch one of the chicks, it will kill it and consume it whole. Given their small size, baby woodpeckers make for a quick and easy meal for a hungry hawk.

Do Hawks Eat Woodpecker Eggs?

Hawks are predators, which means they hunt and eat other animals. But what do hawks like to eat? Well, that depends on the type of hawk. Some hawks prefer to feast on small mammals, like mice or voles.

Others go for larger prey, like rabbits or snakes. And still, others specialize in eating birds. So, do hawks eat woodpecker eggs? It is possible, but not particularly likely.

Hawks that eat eggs generally prefer those of ground-nesting birds, like quail or grouse. Woodpeckers nest in trees, so their eggs are much harder for a hawk to get to.

Plus, woodpeckers are fairly small birds, so they do not provide a very substantial meal. So while a hawk might go after a woodpecker egg if it was really hungry, it is not likely to be high on its list of preferred foods.

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