Eagle vs Hawk Best 10 Main Differences Explained

Eagle vs Hawk

Eagles are large birds of prey belonging to the family Accipitridae. Eagles are with a large body with bigger, rectangular wings and a larger wingspan. There are many eagle species, including the bald eagle, harpy eagle, golden eagle, steller’s sea eagle, white-tailed eagle, and others. The bald eagles with dark-colored bodies possess bright white tails and heads. The bald eagle birds have a large yellow hooked bill, bright yellow eyes, very strong legs, and sharp talons or curved talons. 

The golden eagles are large to medium-sized bird species with a dark brown-colored body and golden feathers around the head’s back. These golden eagle species are the largest birds of prey in North America. The Australian little eagle is a species of small eagle. The typical eagle weighs about 18 pounds. Sea eagles fly by soaring and eat fish and marine creatures. Most species of eagles hunt small mammals and various species. In addition, foxes and beavers are the larger prey for eagles.

 In contrast, hawks belong to the genus buteo and the family Accipitridae. The hawk species possess broad wings and a curved beak. There are also several species of hawks, including sharp-shinned hawk, red-tailed hawk, duck hawks, and others. The red-tailed hawk has broad rounded wings. The ferruginous hawk is a large bird with a longer wingspan. The tail shape and wing shape of both hawks and eagles are similar. Eagles and hawks are the same birds found in sea coasts, deserts, alpine meadows, suburban and urban areas, and grasslands. These two birds also possess distinctive features that help set them apart. Although hawks are potent birds, their strength is no more compared to that of eagles.

Eagle vs Hawk



The eagles possess a white head and shoulders, a white tail, a dark brown-colored body, a large hooked yellow bill, bright yellow eyes, strong yellow-colored legs. In addition, they have giant hooked beaks to rip flesh from their prey, strong talons. and muscular legs. 

Hawks tend to have muscular legs, a giant curved bill, and sharp talons. They are rich brown-colored above and pale-colored below, on the wing underside, a dark-colored bar between wrist and shoulder, and a streaked belly. There are also short wings and a dark tail, with two or three white bands. 

Eagles are present throughout the world, including Canada, Mexico, the USA, the United States, North America, Alaska, etc. The habitat of these birds include coasts, lakes, marshes, and near water. They build their nests in various cliffs and tall forest trees near the water. 

Hawks are also present worldwide, including the West Indies, Jamaica, Central America, and other countries. The habitat of hawks consists of fields, deserts, tropical, moist, and mountainous areas. In addition, these animal species build their nests in the crowns of different trees.  

Eagles possess a body length of about 28to 40 inches, with a wingspan approximately between 5 ft. 11 inches and 7 ft. 7 inches. A fully grown eagle is with a body length between 30 and 32 inches. However, the most enormous eagle in the world is the giant Philippine eagle. Their average weight is generally between 6.6 and 13.9 pounds. 

Hawks possess a body length between 18 and 26 inches, with a wingspan of about 3 ft. 7 inches to 4 ft. 8 inches. The males can grow up to 25.6 inches, while males are only 22 inches tall. In addition, they weigh between 1.5 and 3.5 pounds. The red-tailed hawk is considered one of the largest hawk species. 

Eagle primarily feed on birds and mammals. They are both taken alive and as carrion. Furthermore, their diet consists of various other animals, including ptarmigan, hares, grouse, rabbits, seabirds, gulls, and other small to medium-sized mammals and birds.  

The diet of hawks is predictable and consists of various smaller animals. Hawks hunt squirrels, rabbits, lizards, fish, mice, snakes, and all other small prey present on the earth’s surface. They eat almost 12 to 15% of their weight a day. 

Eagles use both binocular and monocular vision. It means they can use eyes either depending on what these birds are looking at or independently together. Their eyes contain two focal points, one looks forwards, and the other is at almost 45 degrees angle. In addition, they possess five times better eyesight than humans. 

Scientists have proved that hawks can spot medium-sized prey from about 1.6 kilometers or one mile away. They possess the best eyesight in the world. There is a binocular vision in these species, meaning that both their eyes work together to help them see prey from far distances. They have eight times better eyesight than humans. 

Like other birds, eagles possess very huge hooked beaks called maxilla to ripe flesh from their prey, powerful talons, and strong, muscular legs. Their beaks are heavier than various other birds of prey. 

Hawks are perfectly designed to cut off chunks of flesh and dispatch their prey. They have a bill with a smooth and sharpened edge on the maxillary jaw. Their maxillary jaw ends with a pronounced hook. 

Eagles move primarily by soaring through the landscape. Soaring is their style of flying in which they hold their wings outward, rarely flapping and saving a considerable amount of energy for them. In addition, these species can fly for about 160 kilometers per hour. 

Hawks float skyward, circling periodically to stay within the air column as the warm air expands upward. The slots present between their long feathers at wingtips deflect drag. They can spot prey from about 10 feet distance, achieving a speed of 150 miles per hour.  

Eagles live for a specific time, after which they die. For instance, they can live for about 20 to 25 years in the wild, while the lifespan in captivity is between 40 and 50 years. It is due to veterinary care, a nutrient-rich diet, and a controlled environment.  

Hawks also have a specific lifespan, like eagles and other animal species on earth. For instance, they can live for about 20 years in the wild, but also for 12 years due to a bad environment. The lifespan is about 15 to 25 years in captivity. 

Eagles are also preyed on by other animals. Their common predators are raccoons and hawks. However, humans are natural predators. 

Hawks also have some predators, avoiding contact with them. Their predator includes snakes, raccoons, crows, eagles, and owls. 

Some populations of eagles were categorized under the endangered species Preservation act that became law in 1967. They remain protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty act and Protection act. 

Out of the 39 various hawk species present in California, almost 22 are categorized as threatened, endangered, or species of great concern. However, they are at a greater risk of extinction nowadays. 


Sometimes people get confused and raise questions relating to eagle vs. hawk to clear the minds of people. Therefore, the answers to some of those questions are as below;

Can an eagle beat a hawk?

Both eagles and hawks possess sharp talons and powerful feet, catching, holding, and ripping apart their prey. However, eagles are stronger than hawks due to their larger size. Therefore, the eagles can easily beat hawks.

Are hawks afraid of eagles?

They are scared of various animals, having some predators. They are afraid of crows, eagles, and owls. 

Do eagles hunt hawks?

Eagles hunt much larger prey due to their large-sized bodies. However, hawks such as Cooper’s hawk hunt smaller birds, including jays, pigeons, European starlings, and American robin

What bird is more giant than hawks?

Eagles large-sized birds than hawks. They have a similar appearance, but hawks possess broad wings, a stocky build, and rounded tails. 


A variety of animals are present throughout the world, all possessing unique identification characters discriminating against them. The same is the case with hawks and eagles. Although both have sharp talons and powerful feet, they are different species. This blog post has provided facts and information that is enough to make the minds of people clear. It will help great if you read this article with great attention.

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