Red-tailed hawks eat a variety of animals, including rodents and other birds. The birds are also known to eat reptiles, although these make up a smaller part of their diet. The red-tailed hawks' large and powerful talons allow it to prey on relatively large animals.
The red-tailed hawk is a carnivorous bird, which means they only eat meat. Most of the calories a red-tailed hawk consumes are from small rodents, such as mice. These make up around 85 percent of the hawk's diet and are essential for the bird's survival.
The red-tailed hawk is also known to eat larger mammals. The birds have been observed eating animals as large as rabbits, which require considerably more strength to attack than smaller rodents.
Other birds are also an important part of the red-tailed hawks' diet. The most commonly eaten bird is the red-winged blackbird. These birds guard their nests in open locations, making them easy prey for hawks and other predatory birds.
Red-tailed hawks do not store their food. This means that they need to hunt continuously in order to survive. The birds are known as perch hunters, which means that they search for prey while stationary on an object, such as a fence or tree.