Difference Between Hawk and Falcon

Hawk vs Falcon

Hawk and falcon are of the order of species of birds called the accipitriformes or the falconiformes. However, their taxonomy deviates in the subfamilies. A hawk and a falcon are of entirely different genus. Falcon belongs to the genus Falco while a hawk belongs to Accipiter genus. Each genus has its own special characteristics that distinguish one from the other.


Hawk is a bird of prey. There are different types of hawks that belong mostly to the large and widespread Accipiter genus. These include goshawks, sparrowhawks, the Sharp-shinned Hawk and many others. Most of them are woodland birds that are characterized with long tails and high visual acuity. Their beaks are simple and have smooth curve and uses their talons to kill prey. They also have short wings, slimmer toes and feet with yellow, orange or red eyes for most true hawks.


Falcon is also a bird of prey and their species are widely distributed throughout Europe, Asia and North America. A falcon has a notch on their beak usually used to break the neck of their prey. Most adult falcons have thin, long pointed wings that allow them to fly at high speed and to modify direction rapidly. They also have shorter tails and long slender feet and toes.

Difference between Hawk and Falcon

The main difference between a falcon and a hawk lies on their hunting styles. Hawks are ground hunters. They are very agile in which they prey by swift, surprise attacks. They confine their hunting activities to ground dwelling animals. When they see an opportunity, such as a prey coming out from the cover, they stoop and accelerate and grab the prey through the talons on their feet. Falcons are speed hunters. They hunt on the wing from above. They will go to great heights, and then fly in circles while waiting for the prey. Once a prey is at hand, they dive at great speed and hit their prey using their beak to do damage to the neck.

Hawks and falcons are indeed sights to be hold in the animal kingdom. They display great character and dynamism, especially on how they hunt, a sight worthy to behold.

In brief:

– Hawks are ground hunters. They wait on their prey in woodland from a short distance. Falcons hunt using speed. They go to great heights weighting for a prey and then stoop at great speed to attack.

– Hawks have beaks that are simple and have smooth curves. They have short wings and long tails. Falcons have a notch on their beaks which are used to break the neck of their prey. They have longer wings for speed and shorter tails.

  • mark

    ok good answers , but what is a kestrel? they attack on the ground but are small and fast like a falcon?