Can a hawk pick up a full grown duck?


9 Years
Mar 28, 2010
A weird thing happened today. One of our Indian Runners was mysteruiously outside of his pen. We have the two of them in a fairly large enclosure with a four foot fence around it. We originally had 3 but one lost his head (literally) and so they are always locked in their house at night.
So I look over today when I'm out doing the horse chores, and one duck is inside and one is outside the pen. I have never seen either of them even TRY to fly, and I must be honest, they are pretty well fed, and are probably heavier than your typical runner.
I looked everywhere to see if there was a hole in the fence, and found nothing. My husband suggested that he has seen a big hawk circling lately. He wonderd if maybe it grabbed him, but decided he was too heavy. It never occurred to me, and I didn't see any obvious signs of wounds or injury (but maybe I should have a closer look).

Our chocolate lab is affectionately known as "Air Traffic Control". He tears around the yard barking whenever anything attempts to fly over (We joke that our property is a strictly enforced "No Fly Zone"
) He was probably inside when (IF) this happened.

Just curious what you all think the chances are???

I'm Stumped.
I've been actually surprised when one of the local park ducks, a black and white runner, suddenly flew up about 5-6 feet in the air one day and landed a few feet away. She's a bit pudgy, too Never thought I would ever see her fly in any way shape and form.

But, there was a story here on BYC of a "runner mix" being carried off by a hawk only to be found 12 miles away. It was determined that the hawk actually carried her only a few miles, but it was seen flying off with her (a human carried her the rest of the way after finding her and not knowing where she came from).
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A hawk CAN carry off a full grown duck. Not a little red tail maybe, but there are larger breeds sure can. We had what we think is a gosshawk carry our buff mutt up in to a tree. We found the body a few days after she "disappeared" when her headless body fell back in to the pen.

If a small hawk can't carry off the duck, it will often just take the head.

Now as for runners flying...they can for a little bit...sometimes. More like they are doing a big jump with a lot of flapping
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Red tails are not little.

And I've seen young eagles in CO, a friend of mine and I were varmint shooting, prairie dogs, and a young eagle came down and ate one we killed, it was like the scene in the book Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, he needed that one. My friend and I agreed this was better than any nature show on TV, ever. We shot another and he ate that too, but he was less hungry and left the wrapper, the skin.

Peregrine falcons were commonly known as "duck hawks" as ducks are their favorite food.
Red tails are not little

We have a few hanging around our property and they are small, but we think they are youngsters. One keeps landing on my lawn chair and eyeballing the quail pen!

The goshawk was another story. I walked outside last summer and there was something HUGE standing at the edge of my pond drinking. It saw me and flew off. I was at least 2' tall. The wingspan shocked me. I was surprised something that big had so little issue flying between powerlines, clothesline, tree branches, etc... Even living in the burbs I have to be very careful of predators. My losses to predators have all been of the winged variety. Mr. Goshawk has a Great Horned Owl friend and I swear they work opposite shifts!​

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