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Falcon vs Hawk Differences and Comparison

Falcon vs Hawk Differences and Comparison

Overview: Falcon vs Hawk

Falcons, eagles, hawks, vultures are widely known as raptors, the word “raptor” find its origin from the Latin word “raptare” which means “to seize and carry off”. These birds attack their prey, seize or grab them and fly away. It is easy to identify them but falcons and hawks look alike. Falcons and Hawks are large-sized prey birds with similar-looking traits; on a sight, it is quite difficult to differentiate between them. However, they differ a lot when it comes to size, attacks, prey choice, agility etc. We have to look closely to choose which one will win in one on one fight; let’s know about these elegant birds of prey.


Falcons and Hawks have their presence in all over the world except Antarctica. Both of them evolved with highly adaptable nature they can be found in all environments whether it is a desert, arctic or grasslands.

Number of Species: Falcons have their presence with 40 species whereas the Hawks have quite a large group with more than 270 species.

Physical Traits:

The largest of all, Grey falcon has a length around 20-25 inches; weighing up to 2 to 4 pounds. Hawks also reach the same length and weight. The largest hawk, ferruginous hawk have average length of 22.3-25 inches with a wingspan of 53-56 inches. In both the species the females are a bit larger than their male counterparts.

Falcons are usually dark brown, some species are grey coloured too. They have large wings and mid-sized tails. Hawks have variety of colours having short wing span in comparison to falcons and long tails.


Both of them have varying lifespan depending on species but on an average, they can live between 12-20 years and in some cases up to 25 years.

Eating Habits:

As both falcons and hawks are predatory birds they are carnivorous in nature. Falcon’s diet constitutes of rodents, fish, small insects, birds etc. Hawks have slightly large variety; they devour reptiles, rabbits, frogs etc. It has been seen that sometimes hawks attack mammals too including dogs and cats.

Hunt and Attacks: Hawks vs Falcon

Falcons and Hawks usually hunt during the daytime which makes them diurnal birds. Both the rivals have brilliant eye sight; falcons can see 8 times clearer than human whereas the hawks are can spot their prey from a distance of around 100 feet.

Both the birds have excellent flying speeds; on an average, a diving peregrine falcon can reach up to 200 mph which makes it the fastest flying bird. In certain cases it was seen that falcons can attain speed of about 242 mph. Hawks having a top speed of 150 mph lose the race when it comes to speed.

But when it comes to attacking both have their own ways to kill their preys. Falcons uses their slightly angular bend beak to stun their prey whereas hawks use their large, sharp talons to tear apart the skin of their prey. The killer combination of these attacking tools makes them both apex predator birds of the ecosystem.


Both male and female falcons look after the upbringing of their offspring, same with the hawks too but hawks are monogamous birds having the same partner for lifetime.

Hawk vs Falcon Bird Fight: Who Would Win?

To choose the winner is quite difficult, as there is a fierce rivalry between the two. On the one end we have Falcon as our speed king, on the other we have Hawk, the most intelligent bird. Both having a similar deadly combination of attacking tools makes it even more complex to declare the win.

As hawk has more aggression, courage and ability to attack mammals even larger than its size we predict hawk as a winner. Nonetheless, it doesn’t mean that we are demeaning our speed king. Falcon too have similar traits like hawk, as nature is unpredictable who knows when the falcon will rise and snatch the win from the hawk.

Comparison Chart: Hawk vs Falcon

Comparison Heads Falcons Hawks
Kingdom Animalia Animalia
Order Falconiformes Accipitriformes
Family Falconidae Accipitridae
Genus Falco Accipiter/Buteo
Average Body Length 10”-25” (25-65 cm) 11”-25” (29-65 cm)
Average Weight 0.2-38 lbs 0.3-3.8 lbs
Wing Span Larger than hawks Shorter
Beak Falcons have a notch on their beak Hawks have a slightly curved beak
Top Speed 150 mph 242 mph
Intelligence Average Most Intelligent Bird of Prey
Life Span 12-20 years 13-20 years

Comparison Video: Hawk vs Falcon

FAQ’S: Frequently Asked Questions

  • How can you tell the difference between a hawk and a falcon while flying ?

    During wingspan wide open. Falcon wings are slender and pointed whereas Hawks have ‘fingers’ on tip of their wings.

  • Can a hawk pick up a dog?

    Yes they can, Pets weighing below or around 5 pounds are prone to be stolen by hawks.

  • Can a hawk pick up a 20 pound animal?

    No, they can only carry small animals that doesn’t Outweighs Them, any mammal below 5 lbs are prone.

  • What is a hawk afraid of?

    Hawks are afraid of eagles, owls and crows.Snakes and Raccoons snatch eggs out of hawk nests if they get the chance

  • Why can’t you kill a hawk?

    Under the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act since 1918, hawks have been protected in the United States .This means that it is illegal to trap, cage, shoot,hunt,poison, or kill them.

  • Can you keep a hawk as a pet? Can you tame a hawk?

    Yes you can if you have a falconer’s license or at least 2 years apprenticeship with a licensed falconer.

  • Is Falconry a humane?

    Yes, Falconry is the safest, most humane way to hunt, in which the complete animal is used.