Insects and invertebrates
All kinds of hawks love to hunt invertebrates. If we talk about Swainson’s hawks such as midsized, slender buteos that are seen in the summer season in Western North America and may be found in winters in Argentina, they preferably feed on insects such as moths, dragonflies, grasshoppers, and crickets. The red-shouldered hawks can snatch crayfish from water; however, Fiji goshawks and swamp harriers may hunt on prawns as well.
Snakes, lizards, and other reptiles
Hawks also feed on snakes, lizards, and many other reptiles. Almost one-third portion of the diet for red-shouldered hawks consists of cold-blooded fare and it may also include several types of turtles. Although snake hunting is a tough task for hawks, the widespread North American species such as Cooper’s hawks and red-tailed hawks may feed on venomous snakes as well. They may even attack rattlesnakes and cottonmouths.
Small mammals and rodents
Many small mammals such as shrews, rodents, lagomorphs including hares, pikas, and hares are the essential elements of the nutritional backbone for hawks. Red-tailed hawks preferably pray on cottontail rabbits. The rough-legged hawks on the other side prefer pocket gophers, voles, shrews, ground squirrels, and lemmings as well. The large ferruginous hawk present in the western part of North America usually target jackrabbits, ground squirrels, prairie dogs, and others that are active during the day.
The surprising fact is that hawks can also pray on other feathered cousins of their category. Many accipiters can be considered as avian specialists.
The small-sized hawks in South America and Central America pray on hummingbirds. Sharp-shinned hawks as well as Cooper’s hawks in North America and the sparrowhawks are more attracted towards songbirds. Large buteos and Goshawks can pray on bigger birds such as quail, pheasants, grouse, and waterfowl.
Hawks around the world suffer from a bad reputation because they are known to pose a considerable threat to domestic poultry. The positive benefits of such fine-tuned raptors are usually ignored by humankind.
It is important to mention that these creatures can protect your crops from destructive rodents. Some people also say that hawks can attack pets as well, but the danger is often overrated. There are very rare cases when hawks mess with the pets.
Among several predators that affect the terrestrial ecosystem on the planet, hawks are the most dangerous category of raptors that are available in two major groups in the family of Accipitridae.
Hawks are available in a variety of size ranges; the subfamilies generally include sharp-shinned, sparrowhawks, and goshawks.
They are birds of prey that mostly eat invertebrates.