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 many different kinds of hawks live in the United States?

    A:

    There are 31 different types of hawks that live in the United States. Hawks are birds of prey that belong to the same family of eagles and kites known as the Accipitridae family of birds. They are closely related to falcons, osprey and vultures.

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  • Q:

    What animal eats a hawk?

    A:

    With the exception of red foxes, great-horned owls, raccoons, larger hawks and eagles, very few animals eat hawks. Hawks have few natural predators, as they are at the top of their food chain.

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    How do red-tailed hawks build their nests?

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    Red-tailed hawks build their nests by collecting and combining branches that are 1/2-inch thick and 2 to 3 feet long. Red-tailed hawks generally build nests at the top of trees, next to their trunks, or on cliff ledges and tall human-made structures.

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  • Q:

    What types of hawks live in North America?

    A:

    At least 17 species of hawks live in North America including the red-tailed hawk, common black hawk, Cooper's hawk, gray hawk, rough-legged hawk and sharp-shinned hawk. Hawks tend to live in coniferous trees and wet areas. All hawk species are adapted to and can survive in a variety of habitats.

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