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Difference between Hawk and Eagle

Nature has given us everything, be it plants, mountains, shrubs, animals, etc. All of this combines and makes nature. All the organic elements are the fundamental basis of nature. However, nature has so much more to offer. Now, in the animal kingdom, one animal sustains on the flesh of other animals. This is prevalent in carnivores.

On the other hand, small and big animals sustain themselves on the plants, roots, shrubs, etc. Thus, there are a variety of animals found in the animal kingdom. Ranging from insects to large animals, everyone in the animal kingdom sustains through each other. Now, hawk and eagle are also a part of this kingdom. But some of us tend to believe they are the same because of their appearance or eating habits. Well, it is not so. Both are different creatures. We will discuss the contrasting points between them, but first, let us understand the meaning and origin of hawk and eagle.

Hawk vs Eagle


A hawk is defined as a medium-sized bird that belongs to the family of Accipitridae. These birds can vary in size and include different types like sparrowhawks, goshawks, sharp-shinned hawks, etc. Hawks belong to the kingdom Animalia. Hawks have rounded wings and a long tail.

They chase their prey suddenly. They are instant in their attack. Hawks are considered to be the tertiary animals in the food chain, i.e., they eat primary and secondary animals. Hawks are seen in various colors like brown, cinnamon-red, chocolate-brown, and warm-red. Now, hawks have varying heights. For instance, male hawks have 45-60 cm of length, and females can measure up to 48-65 cm. The Ferruginous Hawk is the largest and the heaviest hawk found in North America. Well, hawks are majorly scared of eagles, crows, and owls. Eagles are the primary predators of hawks. One of the striking features of hawks is their eyesight. They have four kinds of color receptors in their eye. With this distinguished characteristic, hawks can perceive visible as well as ultraviolet light. Hawks prey on smaller animals like snakes, doves, lizards, birds, squirrels, etc. Hawks are majorly found in deserted regions because it is easier to find small animals for prey. Hawks can generally live anywhere, like mountains, moist areas, tropical regions, etc.


Eagles are large birds that have heavy heads and beaks. The hooked beaks are used to tear the flesh of the animals smoothly and swiftly. The beak of an eagle is typically the heaviest beak among the birds. An eagle is a large bird having strong and broad wings. Eagles are known for their sharp perception, keen sight, and powerful flight. Bald eagles have white heads and dark brown bodies/ wings.

The legs are bright yellow in color. All the eagles have the same appearance. The eyesight of an eagle is used while hunting. They can look beneath the water surface by soaring high above the ocean. They have sharp eyesight. Eagles and birds have occupied the top of the food chain because of their long lifespan.

They eat fish, ducks, small mammals, etc. They are also known to steal food from other animals. The striking feature of eagles is their hooked beak and sharp eyesight. They can soar high and look beneath surfaces and find their prey. The hooked beak is used to tear the flesh of muscular animals. Now, hawks and eagles have several differences between them. So, let us look at it.

1. A hawk is a medium-sized bird that instantly preys on small animals and birds. On the other hand, eagles are large-sized birds having heavy heads and hooked beaks.
2. Hawks eat small animals like snakes, lizards, squirrels, etc. Eagles eat both small and medium-size animals like mammals, fishes, snakes, etc.
3. One of the striking features of a hawk is their eyesight, i.e., they have four color receptors through which they can see the ultraviolet light as well. One of the striking features of an eagle is its keen sight and hooked beaks. With the help of beaks, they are able to tear the flesh of muscular animals.
4. Hawks are found in four significant colors, namely chocolate brown, cinnamon red, brown, and warm red. Eagles are generally bald, having a white head and yellow-colored beaks.
5. Hawks cannot look beneath the water and land surfaces. Eagles can look beneath land and water surfaces.
6. There are around 250 species of hawks around the world. There are only 74 species of eagles in the world.
7. Hawks are comparatively small in size, including their wingspan. Eagles are large in size, including their wingspan.
8. Hawks are not very strong. Eagles have a strong built.
9. The beak of a hawk is black in color. The beak of an eagle is yellow or white in color.
10. Hawks have a high-pitched screaming. Eagles have a slow scream.
11. Hawks can build heavy nests on trees and rocks. Eagles built their nests either in trees or on the cliffs.
12. Hawks lay their eggs five times. Eagles lay their eggs only two times.
13. Hawks lay 5-7 eggs at a time that are light blue/ white in color. Eagles lay white eggs.
14. The lifespan of a hawk is of fifteen years. The lifespan of an eagle is thirty years.
15. Hawks have dark spots around their neck and legs. Eagles have feathered legs and toes.
16. Examples:
  • Goshawks
  • Sparrowhawks
  • Duckhawks
  • Fishhawks
  • Philippine Eagle
  • Harpy Eagle
  • Martial Eagle
  • Sea Eagle

So, these are some of the contrasting points regarding hawks and eagles. Hawks and eagles have many characteristics through which they can be distinguished. So, let us take a look at them.

Features of Hawks

  1. Hawk is a medium-size bird having a good hunting technique.
  2. Hawks can grow up to eight pounds and can exceed till twenty feet.
  3. Hawks hunt during the day.
  4. The wingspan is of five feet in hawks.
  5. They have strong and broad wings/ tails.
  6. Hawks instantly attack their prey by hiding in the trees.
  7. They have sharp beaks that are black in color.

Features of Eagles

  1. It is a large-size bird having broad wings.
  2. The weight of an eagle is eighteen pounds.
  3. The world's largest eagles are the golden eagle, martial eagle, harpy eagle, white-tailed eagle, and sea eagle.
  4. They have a heavy built structure, including a muscular body and strong legs.
  5. They have hooked beaks and large claws.

So, these are some of the characteristics of hawks and eagles. Hawks and eagles belong to the same family of Accipitridae. However, there are some differences between them that are listed above. Hawks and eagles hunt during the day. Eagle is the most deadly predator who can soar high and look beneath land and water surfaces, unlike hawks. Thus, hawks and eagles are the most deadly animals in the animal kingdom.

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