It would have often happened with you that while looking at the sky you are unable to spot the difference among different birds, isn’t it?. The answer is straight yes, we all find difficulty in recognizing the difference between birds flying in the sky. There are many birds in pairs that look so similar and in such cases especially it gets tougher to spot who is who. The best example of the existence of such a pair of birds is the eagle vs hawk.
Both the birds, eagles, and hawks belong to the same family which is commonly known as Accipitridae. Also, both of them are diurnal birds, they are active during the daytime and sleep at night. You would be shocked to know the variety of species of eagles and hawks. If we talk in numbers, there are about 60 species of eagles and even more for hawks i.e. somewhere around 250 or even more. All these species of eagles and hawks are distributed on all the continents (excluding Antarctica).
Their areas of existence are also quite close and similar. You would find both an eagle and hawk in the places like- grasslands, forests, alpine, tundra, meadows, desert, sea coasts, and suburban, and urban areas. As we have discussed, there are numerous similarities between eagle and hawk and this is what makes it more challenging to differentiate between eagle vs hawk.
Though the list of similarities between both the birds is quite long, there are ways by which you can identify them separately. So here is this article in order to help you with finding the difference between eagles and hawks. There are many key signs you would get to learn in the below article which would help you in the easy identification of both the birds. Let’s scrutinize further the ways to distinguish between eagle vs hawk.
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Signs to distinguish between Eagle and Hawk!
On a major note, apart from the list of similar features, there are many different signs that make it easy to spot between eagle vs hawk.
Eagle vs Hawk: Based on the body size and shape.
As compared to the hawks, eagles are generally larger in appearance. Also, the weight of an eagle is much more than that of a hawk. In numbers, an eagle weighs around 18 pounds and even the largest hawk species does not cross this weight. The weight of the largest species of hawk is also just 8 pounds which is not even close to that of an eagle. Though eagles weigh more than hawks, there’s an exception with a red-tailed hawk that weighs more than the Australian little eagle.
Furthermore, Eagles are found to be stronger in comparison with hawks and in proof for the same they have- largely built muscular body, curved talons, hooked beak, and strong legs. The strong hind talon of eagles offers excellent gripping and makes them catch and carry heavy prey very easily. On the other hand, the talons of hawks are quite sharp, they are also strong enough but not more than the eagles. Also, hawks have curved beaks.
Eagle vs Hawk: Based on their body color and beak.
- Feathers: The color of the eagle’s feathers is often found to be blackish-gray, golden, and brown. Whereas hawks are generally covered in the feathers of gray or reddish-brown on the back and with white feathers on their chest and belly.
- Beak: The eagles are generally found to have yellow or some light-colored beak whereas on the other hand the hawk’s beak are totally opposite in color i.e. dark-colored.
Eagle vs Hawk: Based on the technique of hunting.
Both the birds have sharp eyesight that makes them detect the prey or food easily. But the only difference is in the method or the technique they follow in order to catch their prey. If we talk about the eagles’ technique of hunting then eagles end up catching and hunting their prey in the air while flying. After hunting they bring it to the nearest shelter, tear it, and eat it.
But if we see the hunting methodology of hawks it is different from the eagles. They follow an instant attack from the back mechanism. In this technique, they do not appear until they find the perfect prey to hunt. But the moment they spot the prey they instantly leave their shelter and do the attack.
Eagle vs Hawk: Based on the diet.
- Creatures that eagles eat: The food of eagles usually comes from hunting the creatures like- snakes, mammals, other birds, and vertebrates. Fish and water animals are the food for sea eagles.
- Creatures that hawks eat: The food of hawks often comes from hunting the creatures like- rats, mice, rabbits, large insects, and gophers. Hawks don’t eat fish.
Eagle vs Hawk: Based on the wingspan.
Since starting eagles are the leading ones when it comes to the size of anything. So continuing the legacy of larger things, here also in the case of wingspan, eagles have larger wingspan than hawks. The magnitude of an eagles wingspan is about 8 feet whereas that of hawks is just 5 feet or even less. But because of the long, broad wings and wide tails of hawks they can effortlessly fly high for a longer duration of time which eagles probably could not.
Eagle vs Hawk: Based on the eggs.
Eagles choose to lay their eggs in the nest located on tall trees or on the heights. The older chick of the eagles often hunts their younger siblings for the sake of getting more food for themselves. The count of eggs that eagles lay is 2 whereas hawks lay upto 2 to 7 eggs in the nest, on hills, and sometimes on the ground. When it comes to taking care of the young ones, both the eagle and hawk give proper care and food to their little ones.