Hawks vs Falcons: What’s the Difference?


Falcons and Hawks are both birds of prey that are often seen flying in the sky and then falling directly into prey. It can be difficult to distinguish the difference between a hawk falcon when you have little about them since overall they appear the same.

Both birds are different in their features, like the appearance of their bodies, flight patterns and hunting habits, food, and so on. I will go over every one of the falcons versus Hawk features specifically in this post on falcons vs. hawks: what’s the difference?

brown and white bird in close up photography

Physical Appearance

1. Size

Hawks tend to be bigger than falcons are generally larger than. The mature hawk measures between 18 and 26 inches and weighs between 0.7 up to 1.6 kg. A falcon’s body is between 13 and 23 inches and weighs 0.7 1.5 to 1.5 kg. Most often, female hawks as well as falcons are larger than males.

2. Feather color

The majority of hawks are dark brown or reddish-brown heads and wings, as well as the wing’s belly, which is pale, and its underside. The tail is usually long and darker. Their feet and the upper portion of their mouths are mostly pale yellow.

However the falcon’s front and rear are gray, and occasionally, greyish blue. The wings are the same hue, however, they are lighter and the neck is white and pale. A majority of falcons also sport stripes of white and black designs on their belly and the underside of their wings.

The most striking characteristic of falcons is likely their bright yellow eyelids as well as the upper part of their mouth, and feet.

3. Wings form

Hawks have wings that are wider and have round ends. These are five feathers open and separated, and that appear like fingers, while falcons sport long and slim wings that hinge like the elbow, and are pointed towards the top. If you are able to distinguish the shape of their wings you will be able to easily identify whether it’s either a falcon or a hawk when flying across the skies.

4. Beak and head shape

The head of the falcon is rounded and appears to be the shape of a circle, while Hawks have a pointed head that is slightly flat on top. When you have a close look at the picture above, you’ll notice that falcons have an angular bend or notch on their beaks, whereas hawks only have a straight curve on their beaks. Check out this video for a comprehensive overview of the following characteristics:

Flight pattern

Hawks have bigger wingspans than falcons. Because hawks are known to fly through the skies they always have long straight wings. Hawks typically glide through the air, with their broad wings flapping in slow motion. Falcons flail their wings quickly while they fly for just a short distance.

Although falcons are smaller in wings, they can fly quicker than hawks. Hawks can fly at about 190 km/h whereas falcons’ speed average is 390 km/h. The falcon’s tiny body and pointed wings are ideal for fast speeds.

Hunting Habit

Birds of Prey, such as falcons and hawks, have one eye-sight that is among the best available in our animal world. They are able to see further than humans, and can detect their prey, and can even see tiny details that are greater than a mile away. According to in the same circumstances, Harris’s Hawk can see the frequency of 77 (Hz) (blinks every second) and the peregrine falcon sees at 129 Hz. Humans can only see 50-60 Hz. Being able to see at a phenomenally fast speed allows predators to catch prey with ease in a matter of minutes.

Falcons are known to hunt from the skies. They often perform what is known as a stoop that is, when they fly at a high speed, and aim at the ground to catch their prey.

brown and white eagle on green metal bar

Because of their exceptional eyesight, falcons haven’t had difficulty spotting their predator from below, though they will always hunt from high altitudes.

On the other hand, Hawks hunt by perching on high-up objects like fence branches, trees, and cell towers as well as electric poles, waiting for the right moment to take out their prey.

With strong as well as sharp claws, the hawks can crush their prey easily and kill them with deadly claws. Hawks typically eat mammals like snakes and lizards or rabbits. They also eat mice.

While at the same time, falcons utilize their spiky teeth to capture and hold prey and kill them later with their beaks. Falcons are built to eat birds that are flying like pigeons, dragonflies bats, as well as other birds. In the wild, hawks are known to be more aggressive than falcons.


The nests of hawks are generally located on the tops of tall trees, where they are shady and a large panorama of the landscape is accessible. They can also build their nests on cliffs, and windowsills, chimneys, or billboards.

Falcons, however, typically are nesting in cliffs, like that of the Grand Canyon. They can also be found in nests of larger birds in trees, and in artificial structures such as bridges and structures.

Falcons don’t use any materials to construct their nests. Instead female birds choose the site for their nest and uses their feet to create a hollow in the soil or sand. In the midst of the mountains and hills are the areas of the place where falcons are often seen too.

Each year, hawks’ mothers lay anywhere from one to five tiny white eggs and it takes between 28 and 32 days for eggs to develop. The process takes place in spring, usually from March until May, after the mating season.

The process of laying eggs for falcons is like that of the hawk with the exception of the colors that the eggs hatch. Their eggs range in hue from pink to reddish brown and are less than the chicken eggs. In addition, the genders of falcons participate in the process of incubation, which takes about a month.


There are a variety of species in the hawks and falcons and falcons, the majority of which are located within North America. Here are a few typical species:

  • Hawk: Red-tailed hawk, Sharp-shinned hawk, Harris’s hawk, Cooper’s hawk.
  • Falcon Peregrine falcon Prairie falcon Merlin, American Kestrel.

In addition, the average life span of an eagle is 14 years while that of the falcon’s lifespan is 19 years.

Hawk Vs Eagle Vs Falcon

There’s another bird can be misinterpreted as a falcon and hawk that is the Eagle, one of the most ferocious hunter birds in the world of animals. The majority of eagles’ bodies that measures around forty inches. This is almost twice as long as the falcon. They can see another bird flying 50 miles away because they have extremely sharp and sharp eyesight.

Eagles are fierce and never abandon to storms, other raptors, or even larger prey. Their meals are typically comprised of rabbits, squirrels raccoons, chinchillas, water flows, catfish, and salmon as well as snakes, foxes young deer, and other birds.

The most straightforward way to spot the eagle is to take an examination of their appearance An adult eagle sports an attractive black body and dark brown wings, and white heads and tails. They also have beaks and legs that are bright yellow and curly curves on sharp talons.


In the end, the two species are fierce carnivores who compete in the marketplace and strong raptors with little distinctions in their physical appearance and the way they fly, their hunter habits, nest locations, and species. While they appear alike in several ways, it’s not difficult to recognize the two. One of the most efficient methods to determine the falcon vs hawk distinction is to observe them when they’re flying in flight. You are able to observe their wingspan.

I hope that my post about falcons vs. hawks What’s the difference? your curiosity. From this point on, you will be able to quickly distinguish them if you spot them at the national bird park or out within the wilderness.


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