Differences Between Hawks vs Eagles

Last Updated on December 5, 2021 by QCity Editorial Stuff

Hawks and Eagles are not just two different types of birds. They have a lot of differences that may cause you to think twice about what bird is in your backyard. Hawks eat mostly small animals such as lizards, mice, and even insects whereas eagles like to hunt large mammals such as deer, elk, and buffalo. This difference isn’t the only thing separating these two birds; their habitat also differs with hawks preferring wooded areas and trees while eagles prefer open spaces for hunting their prey.  The hawk’s body shape is more compact than an eagle which allows it to fly better in tight spaces where its prey resides whereas an eagle has a larger wingspan which makes them great at soaring high above the ground looking for food. Hawks tend to be more aggressive and territorial than eagles; they will often dive at each other during flight as a way of establishing dominance.

Hawks are often confused with eagles because of their similar appearances. However, there are many differences between the two. Hawks have shorter beaks and talons that are more curved than those of an eagle. They also have a lower wingspan which is typically about four feet long while eagles’ wingspan can measure up to seven feet in length! Finally, hawks typically hunt smaller prey such as rodents or small birds whereas an eagle will usually go after larger prey like deer or cows.

Comparison between Hawks and Eagles

Parameters of ComparisonHawksEagles
SmallSmallerBigger than hawks
HookHawks have longer, hooked beakseagles have shorter, straighter beaks
TalonsThe talons of a hawk are typically larger and more curvedLess large
HeadLess round and biggerRounder and bigger
Flyhawks fly in straight lines or zig-zag patternsEagles fly in loops and circles

What are Hawks?

The hawks are a group of diurnal birds of prey that make up the family Accipitridae. This group includes many different types of hawks, eagles, and kites. These birds are found all over the world and vary in size from the tiny sparrowhawk to the giant Philippine eagle. Hawks have keen eyesight and strong talons, which make them excellent predators. They feed on a variety of prey items, including small animals like rodents or reptiles, as well as larger creatures such as deer or even other birds. Additionally, hawks play an important role in ecosystems by helping to keep populations of pest species under control.

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What are Eagles?

Eagles are a species of bird that is found throughout the world. They have hooked beaks, strong feet, and powerful wings. Eagles typically eat fish but will also hunt other birds, mammals, and reptiles.”  “In some cultures, eagles represent nobility or power because they fly so high in the sky. In Native American culture, eagle feathers were used to show respect for a very important person.

The bald eagle is a large, white-headed bird of prey found in North America. Eagles are one of the largest birds in the world and have been used by humans for centuries for their strength, size, and hunting skills. Bald eagles are now a federally protected species and are important indicators of environmental health.

The bald eagle is a large, predatory bird that is found throughout North America. These birds are easily recognizable by their brown body and white head and tail. Bald eagles are opportunistic feeders and will eat anything from fish to small mammals. Although they are not considered endangered anymore, bald eagles face many challenges in the wild. This article will discuss the biology and ecology of bald eagles, as well as some of the threats they face today.

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10 Differences Between Hawks and Eagles

1. Hawks are smaller than eagles.

2. Eagles have a hooked beak while hawks have a straight beak.

3. Eagles build their nests on cliffs and other high places, while hawks nest in trees or bushes.

4. Eagles can fly at speeds of up to 200 mph, while hawks only fly at speeds of 60-80 mph.

5. An eagle’s wingspan is about six feet across, while a hawk’s wingspan is only two feet across.

6. Eagles live near the top of mountains and hillsides where they search for food from above, whereas hawks live closer to the ground where they hunt for food by looking under leaves and branches.

7. Hawks eat smaller prey like insects and mice; eagles prefer to hunt for deer or other large animals.

8. Eagles live in forests, whereas hawks often live in open spaces.

9. Eagles fly higher than hawks.

10. When an eagle is looking for food, it will look down at the ground; when a hawk is looking for food, it will scan from side to side.

Interesting Statistics or Facts of Hawks

1. Hawks are the largest bird of prey in North America.

2. The average wingspan of a hawk is six feet.

3. Hawks have been known to eat everything from insects, rabbits, and squirrels to small birds and snakes.

4. There are over 60 different species of hawks around the world.

5. The lifespan for a hawk can range anywhere from 15-25 years. 

6. In some cultures, hawks were considered symbols of power or royalty because they could control their environment with their strength and speed.

Interesting Statistics or Facts of Eagles

1. Eagles are the only birds of prey with two eyes.

2. The bald eagle is not bald – it has white feathers on its head and tail.

3. Eagles can live up to 60 years in the wild.

4. Bald eagles have a wingspan of 7 feet, making them one of the largest flying birds in North America.

5. An eagle’s talons can be 3 inches long and their beaks 1 inch wide.

6. A group of eagles is called a “kettle” or an “eyrie”.


The two birds of prey share many similarities that can be confusing to those who want to identify them as one or the other based on their appearance alone. In truth, though they may look similar from a distance and in flight, there are significant differences between these majestic creatures worth noting for those who enjoy observing nature up close or studying its minutiae. Hawks live longer than eagles do; however, this is because they take fewer risks with their lives by feeding primarily on smaller animals like voles and shrews rather than a larger game such as deer and elk which provide more nutrients per ounce/gram of meat consumed (eagles). 


Resource 01: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawk
Resource 02: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Bald_Eagle/overview

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