Falcon vs. Hawk

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Falcon and Hawk is that the Falcon is a genus of birds and Hawk is a bird.

  • Falcon

    Falcons () are birds of prey in the genus Falco, which includes about 40 species. Falcons are widely distributed on all continents of the world except Antarctica, though closely related raptors did occur there in the Eocene.Adult falcons have thin, tapered wings, which enable them to fly at high speed and change direction rapidly. Fledgling falcons, in their first year of flying, have longer flight feathers, which make their configuration more like that of a general-purpose bird such as a broad-wing. This makes flying easier while learning the exceptional skills required to be effective hunters as adults. There are many different types of falcon.

    The falcons are the largest genus in the Falconinae subfamily of Falconidae, which itself also includes another subfamily comprising caracaras and a few other species. All these birds kill with their beaks, using a “tooth” on the side of their beaks—unlike the hawks, eagles, and other birds of prey in the Accipitridae, which use their feet.

    The largest falcon is the gyrfalcon at up to 65 cm in length. The smallest falcons are the kestrels, of which the Seychelles kestrel measures just 25 cm. As with hawks and owls, falcons exhibit sexual dimorphism, with the females typically larger than the males, thus allowing a wider range of prey species.Some small falcons with long, narrow wings are called “hobbies” and some which hover while hunting are called “kestrels”.As is the case with many birds of prey, falcons have exceptional powers of vision; the visual acuity of one species has been measured at 2.6 times that of a normal human. Peregrine falcons have been recorded diving at speeds of 200 miles per hour (320 km/h), making them the fastest-moving creatures on Earth. The fastest recorded dive for one is 390 km/h.

  • Hawk

    Hawks are a group of medium-sized diurnal birds of prey of the family Accipitridae. Hawks are widely distributed and vary greatly in size.

    The subfamily Accipitrinae includes goshawks, sparrowhawks, sharp-shinned hawks and others. This subfamily are mainly woodland birds with long tails and high visual acuity. They hunt by dashing suddenly from a concealed perch.

    In the Americas, members of the Buteo group are also called hawks; this group are called buzzards in other parts of the world. Generally, buteos have broad wings and sturdy builds. They are relatively larger-winged, shorter-tailed and fly further distances in open areas than accipiters. Buteos descend or pounce on their prey rather than hunting in a fast horizontal pursuit.The terms accipitrine hawk and buteonine hawk are used to distinguish between the types in regions where hawk applies to both. The term “true hawk” is sometimes used for the accipitrine hawks in regions where buzzard is preferred for the buteonine hawks.

    All these groups are members of the Accipitridae family, which includes the hawks and buzzards as well as kites, harriers and eagles. Some authors use “hawk” generally for any small to medium Accipitrid that is not an eagle.

    The common names of some birds include the term “hawk”, reflecting traditional usage rather than taxonomy. For example, some people may call an osprey a “fish hawk” or a peregrine falcon a “duck hawk”.

  • Falcon (noun)

    Any birds of prey.

  • Falcon (noun)

    A female such bird, a male being a tiercel.

  • Falcon (noun)

    A light cannon used from the 15th to the 17th century; a falconet.

  • Falcon (verb)

    To hunt with a falcon or falcons.

  • Hawk (noun)

    A diurnal predatory bird of the family Accipitridae, smaller than an eagle.

    “It is illegal to hunt hawks or other raptors in many parts of the world.”

  • Hawk (noun)

    Any diurnal predatory terrestrial bird of similar size and and appearance to the accipitrid hawks, such as a falcon

  • Hawk (noun)

    An advocate of aggressive political positions and actions; a warmonger.

  • Hawk (noun)

    An uncooperative or purely-selfish participant in an exchange or game, especially when untrusting, acquisitive or treacherous. Refers specifically to the Prisoner’s Dilemma, alias the Hawk-Dove game.

  • Hawk (noun)

    A plasterer’s tool, made of a flat surface with a handle below, used to hold an amount of plaster prior to application to the wall or ceiling being worked on: a mortarboard.


  • Hawk (noun)

    A noisy effort to force up phlegm from the throat.

  • Hawk (verb)

    To hunt with a hawk.

  • Hawk (verb)

    To make an attack while on the wing; to soar and strike like a hawk.

    “to hawk at flies”

  • Hawk (verb)

    To sell; to offer for sale by outcry in the street; to carry (merchandise) about from place to place for sale; to peddle.

    “The vendors were hawking their wares from little tables lining either side of the market square.”

  • Hawk (verb)

    To cough up something from one’s throat.

  • Hawk (verb)

    To try to cough up something from one’s throat; to clear the throat loudly.

    “Grandpa sat on the front porch, hawking and wheezing, as he packed his pipe with cheap tobacco.”

  • Falcon (noun)

    a bird of prey with long pointed wings and a notched beak, typically catching prey by diving on it from above.

  • Falcon (noun)

    a female falcon, especially a peregrine.

Oxford Dictionary

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