Do Hawks Eat Crows?

You see crows everywhere!

You can hear them too.. all the time!

But what if you see a crow and a hawk together?

You may be wondering – Do Hawks eat crows?

In short – Being obligate carnivores, hawks prey on all sorts of animals ranging from small birds and rodents to large snakes and even fish. And so, crows are no exception. That said, hawks avoid encountering crows in general, probably to evade “mobbing” or harassment.

Therefore, hawks eating crows is quite a rare sight. 

Okay so they may not eat a crow simply because they may get mobbed and outnumbered

But what about killing a crow?

Can a hawk kill a crow?

Let’s find out..

Can a Hawk Kill a Crow?

Although, a crow is both intelligent and strong.

However, a hawk is still the raptor with sharp talons, designed for killing.

And so, ornithologists agree that,

If a hawk ever catches a crow, that crow is toast.

Normally, a hawk kills a bird by squashing it using its talons.

However, the crows are almost the same size of a hawk.

They cannot simply squeeze the life out of a crow.

Instead, a hawk would grip a crow in its talons, while crushing the victim under its weight.

Hawks may further the crow’s trauma by plucking out its feathers.

This usually results in the victim submitting to its own death. 

Eventually, the hawk will devour that crow, even if it’s still breathing. 

Yes brutal I know! 

And yet, hawks seldom go through the trouble of subjugating a crow, rather than eating it

But then they say hawks are afraid of crows? 

Why’s that?

I mean hawks are predators!

Why Are Hawks Afraid Of Crows?

Because crows are the gangsters of the avian world.

You see, crows are aggressive birds with a tendency to hurt any bird, simply because they can.

They habitually harass raptors of higher order.

Unsurprisingly, crows often initiate “mobbing” against the hawks – a phenomenon where small birds chase a predator out of their territories while making excessive noise.

During mobbing, small birds take turns to dive-bomb the predator. 

Related article – Why do little birds follow hawks?

However, crows may go as far as pecking a hawk’s back with their beaks. 

Despite such provocation, a hawk will likely remain calm when it comes to crows. 


Because a hawk is smart enough to never take on battles that he may potentially lose.

You see, crows never fight alone, rather always in packs.

Surely, a hawk can take on one or two crows, but he cannot fend off the whole flock. 

Trying to eat a crow is more like fighting a war, with the risk of being poked to death.

Regardless, hawks are still the raptors, and crows are the “regular birds”.

And yet, most birds avoid disputing with a crow.

So, a more appropriate question would be:

What Makes The Crows So Intimidating?

For starters, crows are everything a bird should avoid.

They are the bullies that mock their friends and foes alike, would cheat all those not from their kind, and will likely trespass all supposed boundaries. 

Although crows are deemed commoners, they have unique characteristics.

They are sort of a special group of birds. 

Let’s look at the reasons why they are so special

1. Intelligence

Crows are among the smartest of animals, even more than dogs.

They can be extremely resourceful with their beaks and solve puzzles through logical reasoning.

Also, they learn through observations.

For instance, crows throw hard nuts on the highways to break them via cars

Additionally, a crow is conscious enough to know when not to bother a predator.

Therefore, they dodge agile hungry hawks, bald eagles, and great horned owls.

2. Territorial Behavior

Crows don’t show as much dominance because they already own all the neighborhoods.

They form alliances with all other birds to mob out a predator.

But may later eat its allied forces. 

For example, crows team up with the blue jays to drive out hawks.

Ironically, hawks hardly ever eat blue jays while crows regularly do so.  

3. Physical Strength

Unlike raptors, crows don’t have curved sharp talons. 

So, they don’t normally use their feet in a fight.

However, they have piercing bills which they use as skewers to dig in their prey. 

4. Prey

Crows are flexible in their eating habits.

And so, they can eat fruits, seeds, and insects as well as other birds and even carrion.

Therefore, they can live nearly anywhere and everywhere on earth.

5. Social Behaviors

The most exclusive feature of crows is their social behavior as a flock.

Because of the following:

a. Flocks and Family System

While several birds live within flocks, crows have a unique family structure.

For instance, the parents share territory with their children and may even hunt alongside them.

A previous brood tends to stay around their parents to assist them in nest building, during the breeding seasons.

b. Communal Roosting 

Crows live in loose sets of 4-8 birds, but they tend to roost within flocks.

And so, hundreds of crows gather at night.

They post sentries to alert the flock in case a danger approaches them.

Therefore, the birds roosting in the middle are often the most secure birds.

This roosting allows the crows to protect themselves, exchange information, and even find suitable mates.

c. Communication and Learning

The same crows fly within the same flight lines every day. 

They have several pre-roosting sites along the way.

These sites are more like stops where the crows gather during the day, to exchange essential information. 

Crows as a community teach their fledglings.

For instance, crows tend to dip their bills inside the nests to pick out hidden eggs.

Crows have also been reported to try and resuscitate a dead bird by mounting and hitting the corpse.

d. Hunting

Normally, crows hunt within small groups. 

However, crows within a flock can coordinate their attacks.

Also, they lack the dignity to fight one-on-one.

Therefore, they are effective against even the biggest of predators such as hawks

e. Bullying 

Crows are the natural bullies who torment all organisms via vigorous cawing or occasionally a dive-bomb, even humans.

Check out this video

f. Funerals

Conceivably, corvids are the only birds that mourn their dead and may even bury one.

Might be they gather only to ponder what killed their friend and if that cause can hurt them as well. 

All this emphasizes how a crow is truly unique. 

Do Hawks Ever Attack Crows?

They certainly do.

A hawk passing through a crow territory may not attack them.

However, a hawk will not hold back on assaulting a crow, if a hawk:

  1. Is too hungry and agile enough to capture the crow within seconds.
  2. Learns that the crow is alone.
  3. Has a mate present in the vicinity.
  4. Has set up a nest with hatchlings within.

Even so, such attacks are isolated events. 

Primarily because a crow can tell when not to offend a hawk. 

Therefore, when there are hawk babies around, crows make an exception and don’t even fly near that nest.

Check out my article – Why do crows attack hawks?

Question comes to mind is…

Do Hawks And Crows Get Along?

Technically, they tolerate each other until they don’t.

They will leave no opportunity to hurt each other.

A hawk won’t let a single crow slide away unscathed.

Crows know this and would mob a hawk, every now and then.

They may even eat hawk eggs if they get the chance.

Or, perhaps the hawks visit crows only to amuse themselves, and they don’t attack crows only because they see them as mere pests.

Final Words

Hawks can attack and eat crows.

However, they rarely do so because crows bully the hawks into leaving their territory.

They do this by mobbing them

Crows have an elaborate family system and would always fight in packs.

But a hawk will attack anyone approaching their babies, and so crows avoid such nests.

While both birds tolerate each other, it may seem as if they get along.

Related articles

Do hawks eat rabbits?

Do hawks eat rattlesnakes? 

Hawk vs Vulture 

Why do hawks circle?

Do hawks eat owls?

Can a hawk pick up a dog?

Are crows afraid of owls?

Do hawks eat foxes?

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