Q:

What is the difference between hawks and falcons?

A:

Quick Answer

Hawks and falcons can be differentiated by their wing-shape and hunting habits. Hawks are broader and attack from a low perch while falcons are smaller and attack from high altitudes.

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What is the difference between hawks and falcons?
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Full Answer

Hawks and falcons are separated by their anatomy and hunting methods. Each species is built specifically to deal with certain prey and as a result have evolved in such a manner.

Hawks are part of the family accipitridae, a classification for all eagles, hawks and kites. All members are diurnal birds with broad wings, hooked beaks and strong legs. They also have a cere, a waxy membrane that covers the upper mandible. Hawks hunt from a perch and generally hunt land vertebrates. They will spy prey it will jump and stoop to gain velocity before striking with the talons. It will squeeze with its feet until vital organs have been pierced and begin to fail. This technique makes the hawk stockier and more prone to perching although hawks do migrate at high altitudes.

The falcon is any raptor in the genus falco. Falco comes from the Latin "falx" meaning "sickle" because of the wing shape. Falcons soar at high altitudes and look for unsuspecting prey. From their high vantage point, the falcon stoops and forms the teardrop shape gaining speed very quickly. The falcon will descend on its prey and strike with talons and beak, either killing the prey instantly or stunning it for a killing blow. As falcons hunt on the wing they target ground vertebrates as well as other birds. The curved wing and smaller frame make the falcon perfectly suited to its form of hunting.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How do you identify hawks?

    A:

    Generally, a hawk is any small to medium accipitrid that is not an eagle. Hawks are birds of prey and can be identified by their predatory characteristics. This means that they have sharp talons and hooked beaks, and tend to circle overhead.

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    How good is a hawk's vision?

    A:

    Similar to other birds of prey, hawks have vision that is around eight times sharper than that of humans. Hawks need great vision to see ahead of them as they fly fast and to spot prey on the ground from a far distance.

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  • Q:

    What eats hawks?

    A:

    The red-tailed hawk, which is the most typical hawk in the U.S., has only a handful of predators, including the red fox, the raccoon and the great-horned owl. Hawks are known as raptors or birds of prey, and are typically the predator instead of the prey.

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  • Q:

    Is there such a thing as a seahawk?

    A:

    The Seattle Seahawks football team claims that its team name is an alternate common name for the osprey. However, scientists prefer to split that name into two words, and the common name "sea hawk" can refer to either ospreys or skuas.

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