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Do Hawks Eat Owls? Let’s Find Out in Details!

Do Hawks Eat Owls

Out of all the bird species in the wild, owls are one of the toughest and at the top of most food chains of wild animals due to their powerful talons and silent flight. This makes them hard to prey upon. But hawks are no joke either, and they’re just as deadly and powerful.

But do hawks eat owls? Owls usually don’t have many natural predators, but hawks are able to eat owls. Hawks usually only target baby owls instead of adult owls, though, since they can get to an equal fight a lot of the time.

There’s much more to know about hawks and owls, though, so we’ll be covering all about them in detail here today. So without further ado, let’s jump straight in. 

Do Hawks Eat Owls?

As mentioned above, out of all the species of birds, owls usually are ranked at the top and are incredibly strong. Even against hawks, it’ll be an even fight for both birds. So most of the time, a hawk won’t depend on owls for food.  

The only reason a hawk would go and attack an owl is when it has a clear advantage, or it simply has no other option. Other than that, hawks won’t even dare have owls as their diet, and they’ll only go hunt owls if they’re really desperate.

So technically, tough hawks, such as the red-tailed hawk, eat owls, but they’ll target other animals most of the time. But if there’s an unguarded nest nearby with owl eggs or baby owls, a hawk will target it as the baby owls can’t protect themselves.

Hawks can also attack owls if the owl is trying to attack a hawk’s nest nearby since that’s the only way it can protect its own nest. Most birds, including hawks, are scared of owls most of the time anyway since they’re silent and can fight well. 

Do Owls Eat Hawks?

In the animal kingdom, owls are one of the strongest animals and are at the top of most food chains. And even though hawks and owls put up an even fight, owls often eat hawks too. 

In terms of size, owls are often bigger than hawks too. In fact, the biggest owl is nearly twice as big as the biggest hawk. On average, hawks can be bigger, though. 

Owls Eat Hawks

Owls won’t usually blindly pick a fight with a hawk, though. But if it does, it has a huge advantage because of its silent flight. Most of the time, if an owl goes hunting a hawk, it’ll fly to a branch nearby and sit still till it has the perfect opportunity to get the hawk from above. They can also crush the skull of a hawk with their sharp talons. 

See also:  Are Hawks Dangerous To Humans? Will It Attack You?

But just like hawks, an owl won’t pick a fight with a hawk unless it needs to protect itself or a nest of eggs or baby owls.  It’s simply not worth it since other wild animals are easier to hunt. 

What Other Predators Eat Owls?

Other than hawks, there are several other predators that eat owls, such as wildcats, foxes, eagles, snakes, and raccoons. Eagles and foxes are their most common predators, though, since they can often win in a fight against an owl. 

Foxes hunt owls usually in spring and summer, and they’ll usually target the owlets or the eggs. They usually won’t go to fight one-on-one with owls, but if they do, they can often win. 

What Other Predators Eat Owls

However, eagles are definitely the deadliest predators for owls. They’re extremely powerful and are much more powerful than an owl, so if an eagle goes to fight an owl, it can confidently win.

But even then, they usually won’t bother fighting and will target the nest, as it’s simply not worth the risk. Some owl species eat other owls, too, such as short-eared owls.  

What Animals Do Owls Eat?

All owls are predators, so they can often eat all sorts of prey animals, birds, and insects. Most of the time, they’ll target insects, spiders, snails, crabs, fish, and earthworms. They can also eat other birds, such as hawks, and they eat small mammals too. 

Most owls don’t depend on other predators for food, though, since it’s just too risky, and smaller insects or birds are a better food source. Even though they can win against other predators, it’s better for them to target easier prey.

What Animals Do Owls Eat

If you’re more interested in what owls eat, you can check out the Owl Wikipedia or the website WorldOfOwls to learn more. 

Are Some Hawks Scared Of Owls?

Yes! Not only hawks but tons of other birds are scared of owls too. The only common owl predator that can confidently fight owls without losing are eagles. But other than eagles, most other animals in the entire animal kingdom fear owls because of their slight flight, speed, and their ability to stay still for hours.

This makes owls deadly to fight head-on, so most predators will usually wait until the owls leave their nests unguarded and then target the owlets and eggs, especially hawks, since they have the same strength as owls. 

Are Some Hawks Scared Of Owls

Owls have sharp curved claws too, so if they pick a bird up from above, they can easily crush their skull and eat them later on. Some tougher hawks, such as a red-tailed hawk, may not be as scared of owls as most other birds, though. 

See also:  How to Attract Hawks to Your Backyard: Tips and Tricks

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

By now, we’ve covered most things about hawks and owls. But if you have any further questions, here are a few of the most frequently asked ones —

1. Can owls pick a fight with humans?

If an owl feels threatened or needs to protect its nest or territory, it can pick a fight even with humans. Fighting an owl isn’t easy either, since they have the advantage with their speed and ability to fly

So overall, it’s highly recommended not to go near any wild owls if they have a nest nearby. It’s incredibly risky, and you can end up heavily injured. You don’t need to worry too much, though, as it’s incredibly rare to be killed by an owl.

2. Is it safe to have owls as a pet?

Although it’s often seen in films or cartoons to have owls as a pet, it isn’t exactly recommended. Keeping an owl as a pet isn’t allowed in most countries such as the United States, and it’s also illegal to sell owls in pet shops. 

But you’re experienced, you can train an owl, and it’s legal to keep them for training. Other than that, you shouldn’t really keep owls as a regular house pet as they can be dangerous. You can tame wild owls if they come near your house, though. 

3. Do eagles often hunt owls?

Eagles do hunt owls, but not so often. Although eagles and owls don’t get along very well, they still won’t always try hunting each other, as there’s always a more convenient source of food for them. 

So most of the time, an eagle will go hunting for other insects or smaller birds as it’s too risky to fight an owl. 


Hopefully, now your question of “do hawks eat owls” is answered. Owls aren’t birds of prey due to their dangerous talons, but hawks can eat owls, and owls can eat hawks too. They put up an equal fight, so the risk of getting hurt is high.

This is why most of the time, other predators won’t try to hunt owls and will instead target the owl’s nest or baby owls instead when it’s not guarded, as it provides a higher likelihood of success. The largest threat to owls is eagles and adult foxes.

Do you want to know if hawks eat crows or other birds? Read our articles about it to learn more.


Peter Kaestner

Hi there, my name is Peter Kaestner and I am the owner of As a avid bird watcher and enthusiast with a passion for ornithology, I want to share my knowledge and experience with other bird lovers through this blog. As someone who regularly participates in bird-related forums and groups online, I am dedicated to helping others learn more about these amazing creatures. However, it's important to note that while I am happy to share my expertise and advice, it is always crucial to consult with an avian veterinarian before making any decisions that could potentially impact your bird's health or well-being. Your bird's health and happiness should always be your top priority, and consulting with a professional is the best way to ensure that you are making informed decisions on their behalf. I hope that through my blog, I can help make a positive difference in the lives of birds and the people who care for them. Whether you are an experienced bird owner or just starting out, I encourage you to use this resource as a way to learn more about these fascinating animals and how to provide them with the best possible care.View Author posts