What Time of Day Do Hawks Hunt? Surprising Facts You Never Knew!

Did you ever wonder what time of day do hawks hunt?

Is it nighttime, which is what many people assume? Or is it a different time of day?

We will expose the truth about a hawk’s hunting habits and what you may not know about this massive predatory bird. So, keep reading to learn more about these fascinating facts. Let’s dive right into it!

What Time of Day Do Hawks Hunt?

First of all, it is not at night.

This may surprise many people as it is a common misconception about their hunting habits.

However, the reality is that hawks are actually diurnal creatures. What this means is that they are widely active in the daytime. They are not nocturnal beings, and they are not always on the prowl to hunt after sunset.

So, what is the reason behind this hunting during the day?

It is their ultra-sharp and crystal clear vision. Their eyesight is impeccably precise. In fact, it is 8 times more powerful than a human’s eyesight. Thus, they can easily catch their prey even at a far distance.

On the other hand, this makes hunting at night almost impossible. They rely solely on their sharp vision for hunting. So, this makes nighttime hunting very difficult for them.

But this is not to generalize all hawks hunt at night. For instance, there are other hawk species such as the Red-Tailed that do nighttime hunting. But there is a valid reason for doing so – their prey.

These birds feed on nocturnal creatures. They also do not leave their homes until it is dark outside. Hence, these birds just have to do the hunting at a time when their food is out and about.

Why Some Hawks Hunt At Dusk

Now, there are other reasons why hunting at dusk is a preference of many hawks.

During dusk, there are more options for animals they can catch. They can feed on nocturnal animals, as well as creatures that are diurnal just like them.

Additionally, the low light condition at dusk helps hawks during hunting. They are able to conceal their movements more when it is not very bright out. As a result, sneaking up on their prey becomes much easier to do.

It is also worth mentioning this type of bird typical in the United States, which is the Common Nighthawk. The name, however, is rather deceiving because it claims that this bird is more active at night.

But the surprising truth about it is that it is not always hunting at night.

In fact, the name is indeed a misnomer. The bird is not nocturnal and it is not a hawk, either!

Instead, a Common Nighthawk is a smaller bird that hunts at dusk – but not at night. They feed on aerial insects, which are greatly active in low-light conditions such as at dawn or dusk.

Read More: How to Make a Coon Feeder And Other Expert Tips You Should Know

Hawks Hunting In Groups… Or Do They Hunt in Pairs?

So, now we understand what time of day do hawks hunt. But let us talk about their hunting habit or style.

Do these birds hunt in pairs, alone, or in groups?

Generally, they are exceptional hunters. Their eyes are razor-sharp, they glide perfectly well, and their talons are great for piercing and overcoming their enemies.

With these 3 things they possess, they can easily catch their prey – no matter how large or fast they may be. These hawks do not need any help to get their prey.

As a result, hawks neither hunt in groups nor in pairs. They do it alone and succeed in doing so. These birds also spend a majority of their lifespan alone. But during the mating season, they travel in pairs for the most obvious reason.

During migration, they fly in groups. But they still set off by themselves when searching for their food even during mating or migration season.

How Hawks Hunt and Catch Their Prey

Another interesting fact about hawks is the way they search and catch their prey.

These birds can glide as if they are just lying motionless in the air. They can glide at a very high altitude – and this is their way of concealing themselves from their prey. No matter how far up above they may be, it is still easy for them to see their target. This is all thanks to their impeccable eyesight.

But they do not only glide in the air. Hawks are also skillful when it comes to scanning for their food from high up the tree. These birds find a tall tree to perch on, then they wait until they see their prey appear.

When this poor creature appears, it is time for the hawk to dive down as quickly and stealthily as possible. They do not screech, unlike what the myth claims. Hawks also use their talons instead of their beaks to catch their prey.

The way these birds use their talons varies. For smaller creatures, hawks wrap their sharp talons around their catch. As they tighten the grip, their poor victims suffocate and die.

But then again, it works differently with larger animals. In this case, hawks rely on their sharp talons to catch their prey. They pierce their larger prey such as rabbits and bigger rodents before they eat them up.


The hawk is such a fascinating and mysterious creature. They have the sharpest vision and talons that they use to overcome their prey.

There are indeed so many things to be amazed about how a hawk functions and what it does to catch its food.

We hope this post answers your question on what time of day do hawks hunt. Now, you know their preferred hunting time, which can be a viable piece of information if you are looking to catch a hawk or simply curious about how this bird operates.

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