Difference Between Falcon And Hawk

Both hawks and falcons are raptors. But you’ve probably heard individuals use the two words synonymously. In actuality, they belong to two distinct bird species. Although flexible, hawks like the vast regions of North America, Central America, Jamaica, and the West Indies as their home. Falcons are found in many nations in the world.

On the other hand, there is a distinction between what the popular names for particular birds signify and what they mean when training raptors or birds of prey.

Keeping any trained bird of prey in captivity is known as falconry, which was once known as “hawking,” and any of the birds of prey kept in falconry can be referred to as hawks. Why do the birds reside in the

However, depending on where they live, the birds of the Buteo group are either referred to as hawks, buzzards, or hawk-buzzards? Below, we’ll examine what distinguishes a real hawk or true falcon, as well as their distinctions.

How Are Their Wings Different?

Hawks and falcons are both raptors that may be found in many locations across the world. The two birds typically share a number of characteristics. Some of these include their eating habits, flying style, and physical characteristics. If you don’t have the right knowledge, it will be difficult to distinguish between a hawk and a falcon in a picture.

Hawks and falcons are carnivorous predator birds that solely consume flesh. They have exceptional hunting abilities, and they have certain lethal traits. These raptors grab their food with the help of their hooked beaks and pointed claws or talons before devouring it.

They can fly high and quickly thanks to their well-built wings. Even if they have many characteristics, if you are well informed about them, you can easily distinguish between them. Although both hawks and falcons are predatory raptors, their families are different.

Hawks belong to the family Accipitridae, the family of eagles, whereas falcons belong to the family Falconidae. Falcons are smaller than hawks in size. A hawk’s wingspan is greater than a falcon’s. Additionally, hawks have fingers at the tips of each wing, but falcons often have pointed wings. Hawks and falcons both have large wings.

Difference Between Falcon and Hawk : Characteristics

Hawks are a kind of raptor that spans a wide range. The hawk family is really divided into two groups: forest hawks (accipiters) and open country hawks (buteos).

Hawks can soar far in the sky thanks to their large wings. Additionally, they have medium-sized, stocky bodies. Hawks have lengthy tails as well.

Hawks can see their prey up to 100 feet away and have exceptional vision. Hawks, unlike many other animals, are very adept at differentiating between various hues. They engage in daytime hunting for their prey.

In general, North and Central America, the West Indies, and Jamaica are home to hawks.

Compared to hawks, falcons typically have shorter wingspans and slimmer bodies. The tips of their wings are pointy and tapering. These let them to fly quickly and drop down to get their prey. About 40 different species of falcons exist, including:

Falcons are widespread across the world and are renowned for their swiftness. Falcons often search for prey throughout the day and have keen eyesight. In general, female falcons are bigger than their male counterparts. The young are cared for by both the male and female falcons.

Difference Between Falcon and Hawk : Size

Hawks and falcons are two separate groups of raptors. Hawks are a kind of bird that belongs to the Accipitridae family’s order Accipitriformes.

The scientific name of the red-tailed hawk, Buteo jamaicensis, is one of the most well-known hawks in the Buteo genus. Falcons are members of the family Falconidae and the order Falconiformes. Falco is their genus.

If you saw a picture of them, you might not even be able to tell them apart because they are both carnivorous birds of prey with similar appearances.

Bigger birds than falcons are hawks, which belong to the eagle family. Long wings, hairless, sharp-shinned legs, small, rounded heads (although some hawks have pointed heads), feet with keen claws, and hooked beaks are characteristics shared by both hawks and falcons. Despite their numerous similarities, they nevertheless differ.

With a body length of around 18–26 in (45.7–66 cm), a wingspan of 43.3-55.5 in (110–141 cm), and a weight of 1.5–3.5 lb, red-tailed hawks are among the largest hawk species (0.7-1.6 kg). The peregrine falcon measures 13 to 23 inches (33 to 58.4 cm) in length and 29 to 47 inches in width (73.7-119.4 cm).

The bodies of falcons are mostly brown-gray with gray tails. They have a white ventral body region. There are thin stripes on the midsection and lower belly. On the other hand, hawks have a variety of feather hues. Hawks can be black, red, white, gray, brown, or gray-gray.

Even the tails of hawks are striped. The largest distinction between the falcon and hawk species is that one is larger and has more distinctive traits than the other, which is smaller and has fewer. In addition, they hunt differently and like different kinds of food.

Falcon vs Hawk: Color

Yes, the colors of the two birds might be identical, but how can you tell them apart? You should examine their plumage, wings, and underbelly since their pattern details are important. Falcons are bluish-grey, whereas hawks have grayish and brownish feathers with a light, striped underbelly.

Additionally, female falcons have wings with black bars. Other variations dependent on the species exist. For instance, peregrine falcons have a continuous stripe and white cheeks beneath malar stripes, while red-tailed hawks have a brown belly band with white underneath and brown cheeks.

How You Can Tell The Difference Between Hawks And Falcons?

Hawks are often white and brown in adulthood, whereas falcons are typically gray and white, but certain species are also brown and white. Hawks and falcons have white cheeks, which is another minute distinction.

The hawk also has brown belly stripes with a white band at the base on adult birds. In contrast, the bellies of falcons are completely striped all the way to the base.

Only when seeing a young falcon, which is most likely to be brown and white until it reaches adulthood, does an issue develop. In this case, pay particular attention to the bird’s cheeks because even young falcons have white cheeks.

Falcons’ beaks frequently exhibit an angular bend or notch. They may easily shatter their prey’s neck because of this. On the other hand, hawks have beaks that are smooth and slightly curved. They frequently snag and kill their prey with their powerful talons.

Falcon vs Hawk: Color

Yes, the colors of the two birds might be identical, but how can you tell them apart? You should examine their plumage, wings, and underbelly since their pattern details are important. Falcons are bluish-grey, whereas hawks have grayish and brownish feathers with a light, striped underbelly.

Additionally, female falcons have wings with black bars. Other variations dependent on the species exist. For instance, peregrine falcons have a continuous stripe and white cheeks beneath malar stripes, while red-tailed hawks have a brown belly band with white underneath and brown cheeks.

Falcon vs Hawk: Head shape

Both hawks and falcons are predatory raptors that consume the flesh of living things. While falcon species chase down flying birds, hawk species are raptor species that hunt on the ground. Both have long wings, powerful claws, and similar-looking bodies, although the hawk has a somewhat larger head.

While some hawks have rounded heads, others have sleek, pointed ones. Each species of falcon has a spherical, short head with a hooked beak. While hawks have diverse hues like brown, reddish, or gray, falcons have a gray and white head. Both of these bird species are exceptional hunters.

Hunting habits

Second, unlike hawks, who have a straight beak, falcons have a notch on their beak known as a tooth.

By utilizing the beak’s “tooth” to sever their victim’s neck, falcons adopt this technique to kill their prey. In contrast, hawks kill their prey with the talons on their feet.

In contrast to hawks, which often kill rabbits, rodents, and small animals like voles and mice, falcons typically pursue other birds, including bats. “On the wing” refers to a falcon catching its prey while it is in flight.

Falcon vs Hawk: Taxonomy

Hawks belong to two different bird species families: Accipitrine and Buteo. Sharp-shinned hawks, sparrowhawks, goshawks, buzzards, eagles, kites, and harriers are among the accipitrine.

The Buteo region is home to hawks, buzzards, and hawk-buzzards. There are between three and four groups of falcons, including kestrels, hobby, peregrines, and the occasionally distinct hierofalcons or hawk-falcons.

The Difference In Flight Pattern

While falcons are frequently observed perched in trees or on tall structures, hawks are typically spotted flying high in the sky. Even though falcons soar to great heights, they only do so to plunge and snag their prey.

Falcons primarily feed on other birds when they are in flight rather than often hunting on the ground. The peregrine falcon, sometimes known as the peregrine bird, is acknowledged as the world’s fastest mammal and the world’s fastest flying bird.

Falcons are smaller than hawks, which are members of the eagle family. The wings, talons, and body of hawks are larger.

Both raptors have pointed, hooked beaks that are sharp and are used for shredding and consuming meat. Although they may have a similar appearance, they may be distinguished by their many distinguishing characteristics.

Hawks may often be spotted gliding over a certain region while flying high in the air. Hawks hunt for prey using their keen vision, and when they locate it, they leap from a height to capture it in their sharp claws.

As members of the eagle family, hawks mostly hunt ground creatures including snakes, rodents, rabbits, and other creatures of a like kind.

On the other hand, falcons are skilled hunters that can catch and kill other birds as they are flying. Like hawks, falcons are rarely observed gliding over terrain. They typically perch on tall trees or close to buildings while waiting for their prey.

Once they have located their prey, they frequently soar to considerable heights in the air before performing a sharp descent from above, commonly referred to as a stoop.

They spread their wings to slow down their prey as they approach and then attack the flying bird with their claws. The match has ended! Peregrine falcons do this stoop at a maximum speed of 240 mph (386.2 kph). The fastest animal in the world is said to be the peregrine falcon.

Speed of flight

Hawks are significantly slower in flight and would essentially merely float on a descent, but falcons are quite quick in flight, notably the peregrine falcon.

For instance, a peregrine falcon can fly at 200 mph, but a red-tailed hawk must dive at a speed of at least 120 mph.

Falcon vs Hawk: Killing method

Both raptors use their talons to capture their prey, but when it comes down to slaughter, their techniques are very different. While falcons have a serration or “tooth” on the side of their beaks to administer the fatal blow, hawks use their powerful feet and broad, sharp talons for ripping to kill their prey.

Final Thoughts

You are now aware of the key distinctions between hawks and falcons. In comparison to falcons, hawks are often bigger birds that fly slowly and like to glide through the air. Falcons utilize their strong beaks to break their prey’s neck as opposed to hawks, who use their talons to capture and kill their prey.

Look at the hue of their cheeks and the stripes on their bellies to distinguish one from the other. Falcons have white cheeks, whereas hawks have brown cheeks. In contrast to hawks, which have a white band at the base, falcons have belly stripes that extend all the way to the base.

When the two species are in full flight and you can see their wingspan, that is one of the simplest times to tell them apart. Falcon wings are thin and pointed, but hawk wings feature “fingers” on the tips.

Have you ever gone in the wild and successfully distinguished a hawk from a falcon. Please feel free to express your thoughts in the comments section below.