In a recent article about ‘My favourite bird’ (which is a kingfisher) Tomohisa asked a very good question: what is the difference between an eagle and a hawk? My answer was ‘Not much’, which doesn’t look like a very good answer. So I did some research and I found that my original answer was not so bad.
Both eagles and birds belong to Class Birds.
Both eagles and hawks belong to the Order Falconiformes. What are falconiformes? Basically these are birds of prey, birds that hunt and eat animals. There are other birds which eat animals, for example seagulls, owls and penguins, but birds of prey have strong beaks, which are hooked at the end, they have feet with sharp, curved talons, they are strong flyers, they hunt during the day and they have extremely good eyesight.
There are five families in the Order Falconiformes, and both eagles and hawks belong to the Family Accipitridae. These birds include vultures, kites and harriers, as well as eagles and hawks. They are believed to have a common ancestor, they build nests from sticks, and the inside of their eggs is green.
So eagles and hawks are very similar. They belong to the same family, but they are different species.
Eagles are powerful gliders who live in wide open places like mountains and fields. They have large wings, and their tails are quite short, They have strong feet with short toes, which they use for killing.
Hawks are agile hunters who catch their prey with quick, surprise attacks in woods or near hedges. They have shorter wings with longer tails, and their feet and toes are slimmer. Most hawks have yellow, orange or red eyes.
I hope Tomohisa can now see that eagles and hawks are different, but only slightly. Do you think the bird below is an eagle or a hawk?