Difference Between Hawk and Falcon

The main difference between hawk and falcon is that hawks have wider wings with rounded ends whereas falcons have long, slender wings pointed at the end.

Hawk and falcon are birds of prey in flight. Hence, both have hooked beaks and are large in size. However, their sizes differ greatly with the species. They have different flight patterns as well. Hawks flap their wings slowly and glide more often. But, falcons rapidly beat their wings and glide for a short period of time. 

Key Areas Covered

1. Hawk
     – Definition, Characteristics, Classification
2. Falcon
     – Definition, Characteristics, Classification
3. What are the Similarities Between Hawk and Falcon
     – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Hawk and Falcon
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms: Bird of Prey, Falcon, Hawk, Hooked Beak, WingsDifference Between Hawk and Falcon - Comparison Summary

Hawk – Definition, Characteristics, Classification

A hawk is a bird species that belong to the Accipitrinae subfamily. Accipitrinae includes several genera such as the Accipiter, Megatriorchis, Micronisus, and Melierax. The genus Accipiter consists of the largest and the commonest hawks such as sparrowhawks, goshawks, and sharp-shinned hawk.

Difference Between Hawk and Falcon

Figure 1: Harris’ Hawk

Hawks generally live in woodlands and they are very astute visually. The long tail is one of the major characteristics of hawks. Their hunting involves unexpected dashes from a hidden perch.

Falcon – Definition, Characteristics, Classification

A falcon is a bird that belongs to the genus Falco. Various species belong to this genus, and are characterized by long wings and powerful beaks. The wings of flacons are long and pointed at the ends. They aid in the faster flying while easily altering the direction. Therefore, the falcon is the fastest moving creature on earth.

Main Difference - Hawk vs Falcon

Figure 2: Falcon

Beaks of the falcon aid in capturing the prey, strongly clawing and tearing the flesh. Falcons easily break the neck of the prey with their angular bend on the beak.

Similarities Between Hawk and Falcon

  • Hawk and falcon are birds of prey in flight.
  • Both are large in size.
  • Both are brown, white, and gray in color.

Difference Between Hawk and Falcon

Definition

Hawk: A bird species that belong to the Accipitrinae subfamily

Falcon: A bird that belongs to the genus Falco

Family

Hawk: Family Accipitridae

Falcon: Family Falconidae

Species

Hawk: Over 250 species

Falcon: About 37 species

Size

Hawk: Varies between 30-35 cm

Falcon: Varies between 25-30 cm

Significance

Hawk: Has incomparable eye-sight and hunting abilities

Falcon: Fastest flying birds with a speed exceeding 300 km/h

Wings

Hawk: Has wider wings with rounded ends

Falcon: Has long, slender wings pointed at the end

Flight Pattern

Hawk: Flap the wings slowly and glide more often

Falcon: Rapidly beat their wings and glide for a short period of time

Beak

Hawk: Has a simple curve on the beak

Falcon: Has a notch on the beak

Grabbing Prey

Hawk: Use talons on the feet to kill the prey

Falcon: Grab the prey with the beak

Head

Hawk: Has a sleek, pointed head

Falcon: Has a short, rounded head

Color

Hawk: Gray to reddish brown on top and whitish from the bottom

Falcon: Black, silver, red or white

Prey

Hawk: Rabbits, rats, mice, gophers, and grasshoppers

Falcon: Small birds such as doves and pigeons

Nesting

Hawk: Nests are bulky and made up of sticks. Typically on trees or rocky cliffs

Falcon: Nesting on man-made structures such as towers and buildings

Eggs

Hawk: Whitish or light blue eggs with brown spots

Falcon: Whitish eggs with dark brown markings

Number of Eggs

Hawk: Two to seven

Falcon: Three to four

Conclusion

Hawk has wider wings with rounded ends. Falcons have long, slender wings pointed at the end. Hawks are typically larger than falcons. Hawks have sharp eyesight while falcons are the fastest flying birds. The main difference between hawk and falcon is the type of wings they have.

Reference:

1. “Hawk.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 5 Sept. 2016, .
2. “Falcon.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 20 Sept. 2017, .

Image Courtesy:

1. “Harris’ Hawk (falconry, Canada)” By Peter K Burian – Own work via
2. “2747038” (Public Domain) via

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things

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