Most people find it difficult to differentiate a hawk from a falcon. They normally mix them up. Although they seem similar in appearance, they certainly have numerous dissimilarities too. The hawk is bigger than the falcon and has a different shaped beak. I sometimes hear the hawk cry out as she flies above my house looking for food. The hawk and the falcon are similar in a lot of ways but differ in, the way they hunt, their size, and their habitat. “The term ‘hawk’ is used to describe the entire family of diurnal birds of prey.
Hawks have acute keen eyesight, muscular legs with powerful feet and sharply hooked bills that are used for biting and tearing flesh. Known for their sharp talons, hawks catch their prey even during flight. Their nostrils are located above the bill on a fleshy patch of skin called the cere. They are swift fliers, with some attaining a speed of over 150 mph when diving”. ( Unknown author, n. d) They eat rats, shrews, ducks, toads, frogs, snakes, rabbits, and other birds. They hunt by day and can “see their prey two miles away their eyesight is the best in the animal kingdom. (Unknown author, 2011)
“The size of the hawk ranges from 19 inches long to 22 inches long. The biggest hawk, the rough- legged hawk has a wingspan of more than 55 inches. ” (Unknown author, 2011) The female is bigger than the male most of the time. Young hawks grow fast maturing in a month’s time. Their habitat is in forests, prairies, marshlands and open savannas. Mating and nest building begin in the spring, March through May. Accompanied by aerial displays by both female and male. “Nests are located from 35 to 75 feet high in the forks of large trees” (Unknown Author, 2011).
Both female and male build the nest from twigs and evergreen branches. Female hawks lay anywhere from 1 to 3 eggs, they hatch in 28-32 days. Hawks mate with their partner for life, but if the partner dies the mate quickly finds another partner. On the other hand, falcons are quite different than hawks. “Any species of raptor in the genus Falco is identified as falcon. Falcons comprise of a heterogeneous family of long winged birds of prey, which are closely related to the hawks. Falcons can dive at a speed of up to 200 miles per hour.
This phenomenal speed makes them the fastest-moving creatures on earth. ”(Unknown author, n. d) They hunt by day and can spot prey a mile away. “Falcons go to great heights to wait for their prey, once they see it they dive at great speed and hit it using their beak to damage the neck”(Clarisse, 2011) . They eat other birds such as” sparrows, starlings, gulls, ducks and pigeons”(Harvey, 2006). They catch their prey in midair and surprise it, it is killed instantly. Falcons claw and tear the flesh from their prey with their strong beak.
The falcon size ranges from 14-19 inches. “The nest is prepared in a saucer shaped form in soil, sand, or grass call” scrape” Their habitat is in forests, mountains, deserts, sea cliffs, in cities, and large urban areas. ” (Harvey, 2006). Male and female share the responsibility of the eggs. “The female lays 3-5 eggs around 2 to 3 days apart” (Harvey, 2006). The female falcon and male falcon mate for life. Hawks and falcons, both hunt in the day, and both catch their pray in mid-air, but hawks eat a variety of animals unlike the falcon who just preys on other birds.
They both have nest’s high off the ground but, hawks nest in trees while falcons make their nests in soil, sand, and gravel on cliffs and on top of tall buildings. Falcons can dive up to speeds of up to 200 miles an hour; whereas hawks can dive around 150 miles an hour. Hawks live an average of up to 21 years while the falcon’s life span is around 17 years. Hawks can see their prey up to two miles and the falcon can see their prey up to one mile. Falcons live in the city, forest, desert, mountains and large urban areas, while the hawk lives in the forest, marshland, and open savannas.
Hawks are also bigger than falcons. To sum up, hawks and falcons do seem similar, but they have several different qualities regarding size, habitat, and diet. “Falcons grab their prey with their beak while hawks use their talons to kill their prey” (Kivumbi, 2011). “Falcons have a notch on their beak and hawks have a curve” (Srinstar, 2011). They may look alike but are quite different. Look closely next time and see the difference between the two. Hawks are bigger and have a different beak.
Courtney from Study Moose
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