The eyesight of a Red-tailed hawk is a very powerful and vital tool in their ability to capture prey. Their vision is about 8 times more powerful than the human eye which gives them the ability to hunt prey from a distance away. It is said that hawks, while soaring and looking for their next victim, are able to see a mouse from a distance of one mile away. Their eyes are relatively large for the size of their skull, while situated in the front of its face and contributes to about 15% of the total head weight. Red-tailed hawk's eyes are somewhat like the inner workings of a telescope. They have a somewhat flattened lens which is situated rather far from the retina, producing a larger image than what humans could normally see. The Red-tailed hawk also possesses three different eyelids. They have upper and lower eyelids as well as a third eyelid that slides in from the side and is also transparent. This third eyelid is also called a "nictitating membrane" and protects the hawk from injury while swooping down to grab prey in long grasses and dusty areas.
Example of a
Red-tailed hawks have strong and sharp, hook shaped
beaks to aid in their
predation and digestion. They use their beaks to tear apart the flesh of the captured prey and it helps in swallowing food.
One of the most adapted tools of the Red-tailed hawk is their extremely sharp talons. After sighting designated prey, the Red-tailed hawk will start to swoop down in a slow, controlled dive with their legs outstretched and talons pointing down. They have strong feet and grab hold of their prey and secure a tight hold while piercing and crushing it. Their talons are also used as a defense mechanism against other animals searching for food and areas to nest.
Red-tailed hawk capturing prey with Swooping down to capture prey
its sharp talons.
To see how the Red-tailed hawk acquires its food, click here.