Rooster vs. Hawk [How to Protect Your Hen House]

rooster vs. hawk

Around a year ago a video went viral on the internet that captured a duel that none of us knew we needed: a rooster vs. a hawk.

T​hat’s right, a hawk attacked a hen and before it knew what was happening, the hawk was locked in fierce combat, fisticuffs, and battle royale, with a rooster defending his hen-lady-love. It was riveting entertainment.

T​here were articles written, tik-toks filmed, maybe even songs composed, about this rooster’s bravery…it was a whole thing There were too many puns about the rooster not being “chicken,” which feels like low-hanging fruit, but I digress.

T​his video calls into question the similarities and differences between roosters and hawks. This article will compare roosters and hawks by looking at their appearance, behaviors, and habitats.

And it isn’t just this one video, one google search will reveal a shocking amount of duels between these two species…they must really not like each other. I’m serious, google it, and you will be surprised.


T​he most obvious difference between roosters and hawks is their appearance.

Where one tends to have the color scheme of a hot air balloon that guys rent out so they can propose to their girlfriends while suspended in a wicker basket hundreds of feet in the air that is being operated by a complete stranger (because that is the height of romance), the other opts for a more sleek look to help them blend into their environments.

roost and hawk appearance

I​t is not hard to guess which is which.

Roosters have vibrant color patterns which vary depending on the specific species of rooster. Shades of red, orange, blue, and even green, are hidden within the shiny feathers of some roosters.

Roosters have vibrant color patterns for the same reason the males of many species of animals have bright and vibrant colors: to attract a mate. This explains why Harry Styles is so popular: the guy has figured it out.

However, the vibrancy of a rooster’s colors tends to fade over time, which spells bad news for the rooster, but it is not out of luck. Like many other birds, roosters molt regularly, and the molting process causes the old, worn-out feathers to fall out and be replaced by new, and freshly vibrant feathers that are ready for another mating season.

Hawks, on the other hand, tend to have much more muted color schemes.

Hawks’ coloring tends to be a mixture of browns, greys, and muted reds. This allows them to blend in with their environment and be more effective hunters of prey, which, for the hawk, can even include other birds!

I​t is easier to catch prey when they cannot see you coming, and if hawks had the same florescent glow as a rooster, they would have a far more difficult time.

Roosters’ and hawks’ appearances differ in more ways than simply their coloring.

Roosters are famous for fleshy growths on their face called combs, which look like fleshy mohawks on the top of their head, and wattles, which hang down below their beak. Hawks do not have either combs or wattles, which, in my opinion, is quite lucky because combs and wattles are very strange looking.

Roosters and hawks are also shaped differently.

Roosters appear to have longer legs and heads that are not nearly big enough for their bodies, and hawks have a more size-appropriate head and a significantly more curved beak.


A major difference between roosters and hawks is their social behaviors.

Hawks tend to be solitary and territorial birds. They do not like it when another hawk enters their territory and will do what they need to in order to chase it away when one does.

Hawks are solitary and territorial birds

The exceptions to their solitary nature happen during mating season and migration season, though some hawks don’t migrate at all.

Hawks are more social during mating season to find a mate. And during migration season, large amounts of hawks will flock together and form what is called a “Kettle” which is a less fun way of saying a “hawk flock.”

Roosters on the other hand are very social birds. They spend their whole lives as part of a flock, over which they are very protective, hence the bird verse hawk video we opened this article with.

Another difference in behavior between roosters and hawks is their reaction to domestication. Both hawks and roosters have a long history of being domesticated by humans for different purposes.

Hawks have often been domesticated to help humans hunt. Hawks make great hunting partners because they are incredibly intelligent, in fact, they are among the most intelligent of all birds.

Domesticated Hawks tend to be less aggressive than wild hawks.

Wild hawks are territorial and protect their territory aggressively, as discussed above. But domesticated hawks are conditioned to be more placid toward potential hazards, which is necessary to form a bond between hunter and hawk.

Roosters have had the polar opposite reaction to domestication: they have become more aggressive.

Most wild roosters are not very aggressive and tend to try to avoid conflict with other roosters and environmental hazards. However, due to the abusive practice of cockfighting, many breeds of modern roosters have been bred to be more aggressive.

Luckily, cockfighting has been outlawed in most developed nations because it is an abusive practice to the roosters. However, the effects, namely more aggressive roosters, still remain.


The habitats of roosters and hawks differ, but there is overlap. Both are incredibly adaptable and have evolved to thrive in a wide variety of habitats.

roosters and hawks habitats

Roosters’ habitat is vast, but it tends to be near to humans, whether that is on farms or in generally rural areas.

The origin of the modern rooster is believed to be somewhere in Thailand, where the domestication of a subspecies of the red junglefowl, thousands of years ago, serves as the ancestor of all modern domesticated breeds of chicken. This means Kentucky Fried Chicken is technically Thai food.

Hawks also inhabit a variety of habitats including dense forests, grasslands, deserts, and even Atlanta, Georgia…that’s an NBA joke, shout out to Trae Young.

Because the habitats are so vast, and these two birds are so adaptable, there are plenty of places their habitats overlap. And when they overlap, it is not uncommon to see these two birds in a fight.

I​n fact, in certain rural communities, farmers will keep roosters in order to defend their hens from being eaten by hawks. Perhaps that is exactly why the rooster did such a valiant job in the opening video…he was just doing his job.

Both roosters and hawks are intimidating birds that have evolved to excel in the ecosystems they inhabit, but, at least in the case of the video at the top, the rooster came out on top.

And if this article made you invested in the genre of rooster comparisons, don’t worry, there is more where this came from. Check it out.

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