Eagle Vs Hawk: Birds Of Prey Difference Facts For Kids!

Aashita Dhingra
Oct 25, 2023 By Aashita Dhingra
Originally Published on Nov 16, 2021
American bald eagle with wings spread.

Hawks and eagles come from the same family, Accipitridae.

There are about 60 species of eagles and around 250 species of hawks found in every continent except Antarctica.

Eagles and hawks are considered to be raptors or birds of prey since they have certain features or characteristics that make them different from other bird species like their precise or accurate eyesight, sharp talons, and hooked bills. These attributes prove to be a big advantage when they hunt their prey.

Many types of eagle species are found in the tall trees of the forests and deserts of Asia, Africa, Europe, and South and North America. North America is known to have the lowest population of eagles.

When you look at an eagle and a hawk together, you can mistake them as the same bird species.

However, this is not the case. Apart from sharing certain similarities, these birds also have their own distinct differences.

Generally, a hawk is less powerful and smaller in size in comparison to an eagle. Eagle species have a larger wingspan than hawks.

An eagle's body is also well-built and muscular, equipped with strong legs, broad wings, and a wide tail. Both hawks and eagles have feathers that cover up their bodies to their legs. The bald eagle, harpy eagle, white-tailed eagle, and eastern imperial eagle are some well-known types of eagles.

Some well-known hawks are black kites, the sharp-shinned hawk, and the red-tailed hawk. The red-tailed hawk is the only bird of prey believed to be slightly bigger than the Australian eagle!

Hawks are medium-sized, with a curved beak, and sharp talons or claws, also lighter in weight.

Many experts on animals have claimed that that the largest eagle breed to exist in the world is the golden eagle and the largest known hawk is the ferruginous hawk. An eagle's large size has been attributed to an evolutionary adaption to make it easy to survive in almost any part of the world.

On the other hand, a hawk's medium size is an evolutionary adaption to provide these birds with the ability to have a faster flight and make quick dives when they fly.

Eagles also live longer than hawks because eagles can live for up to 30 years while hawks only have a lifespan of 15 years! For food, you would often find that eagles hunt larger prey like certain mammals, medium-sized vertebrates, snakes, and other birds that are smaller in size.

Hawks tend to prey on creatures like mice, rats, large insects, gophers, and rabbits.

If you study the eating habits or dietary patterns of an eagle and hawk, you'd be very surprised to learn that hawks do not consume fish or any other marine creatures but there are some sea eagles that have been observed to catch and eat fish mid-flight!

Even the way these raptors lay eggs is different as eagles are believed to lay only two eggs in their nest while hawks lay about two to seven eggs in their nest.

Both species and hawks are very good parents to their young!

If you enjoyed this article on hawk vs eagle fun facts, be sure to check out what is a baby giraffe called and elephant vs hippo amazing facts that are sure to keep you hooked!

What is the difference between hawks and eagles?

Most people today believe that hawks and eagles are the same birds. It is understandable that this confusion happens due to the similar appearances between these birds and it can be quite difficult to notice the distinct differences at first glance.

Some eagle species that you might be familiar with are the harpy eagle, bald eagle, and golden eagle. Some hawk species that you might know are the sharp-shinned hawk, the red-tailed hawk, and the black kite.

Considered to come under the bird of prey category, these raptors both come from the Accipitridae family.

They choose to make their nests in different places too. Eagles make their nests in the tall trees near water areas like lake marshes and river coasts while hawks make their nests in deserts and dry fields.

There are a lot of differences between eagles and hawks if you look closely. An eagle tends to have a body that is bigger in size in comparison to the body of a hawk.

Eagles and hawks, both, are covered with feathers from the body to the legs. These species also have sharp bills or beaks and curved claws that provide them with a good grip when catching their prey.

In eagles, the plumage is a more golden or light brown color while the plumage on a hawk's body is more grayish or reddish-brown.

Eagles are also much more powerful in flight so they could probably take down a hawk if they wanted to. Eagles have much wider, bigger, and rectangular wings than hawks, giving them a larger wingspan.

Nonetheless, hawks tend to have the upper hand here as their medium-sized bodies make it easy for them to dive or dodge an attack when they fly. These birds of prey both generally hunt many small animals and birds like snakes, mice, rabbits, small mammals, and large insects.

While hawks don't hunt sea animals, some sea eagles have been documented to eat fish and other small amphibians.

There is a difference in the lifespan of a hawk and an eagle too. An eagle is known to live for a period of about 30 years but a hawk lives for only 15 years in total!

Even the laying of eggs in these birds is different as eagles lay only two eggs while hawks lay about two to seven eggs in their nests.

Is an eagle stronger than a hawk?

Most animal and bird experts will tell you that eagles are stronger than hawks in literally every way possible like their weight, size of their wings and wingspan, size of their broad and big bodies, lifespan, and ability to hunt.

If an eagle and a hawk were in conflict with one another, they can fight each other to death! However, a group of wildlife enthusiasts has been able to observe that at times, an eagle takes in abandoned hawk eggs.

Hawks, not as big eagles, can fly at a faster speed and make quick dives in the air to avoid attacks from predators.

Which lives the longest?

Each raptor bird has a specific lifespan.

When considering which bird lives the longest, it is none other than eagles. Eagles are known to live for a period of about 30 years while hawks are only capable of living for up to 15 years!

Therefore, in many ways, between these two raptors, an eagle has more advantages than a hawk and is also stronger than hawk species.

What is the wingspan of eagle vs hawk?

When it comes to the wingspan of a hawk vs an eagle, eagles tend to have a larger wingspan of 8 ft (2.4 m) while hawks only have a wing span of 5 ft (1.5 m).

Hawk species can soar and fly in the sky for long durations of time given their long medium-sized bodies, broad wings, and tails that are wide too. Hawks often hide in the thick canopies of trees waiting to attack their prey and immediately lift off into the air.

This bird uses the element of surprise to catch its prey in a split and moment, not even giving its potential meal time to process what's happening.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions foreagle vs hawk facts for kids then why not take a look atmuskie vs pike for kids orotter lifespan facts that are worth knowing!

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Written by Aashita Dhingra

Bachelors in Business Administration

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Aashita DhingraBachelors in Business Administration

Based in Lucknow, India, Aashita is a skilled content creator with experience crafting study guides for high school-aged kids. Her education includes a degree in Business Administration from St. Mary's Convent Inter College, which she leverages to bring a unique perspective to her work. Aashita's passion for writing and education is evident in her ability to craft engaging content.

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