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Are Eagles Hawks?



Eagles are NOT hawks.

More Info: Eagles and hawks are closely related, but they are different birds. They are both birds of prey and are among the 290 species of raptors found around the world. Scientists classify eagles and hawks as belonging to the taxonomic order Falconiformes.


Both hawks and eagles also belong to the family Accipitridae. It is the biggest family order within Falconinformes, as well as one of the largest avian families. As is the case with all accipitrids, both eagles and hawks are diurnal birds of prey, which means they hunt during the day and sleep at night. In addition, both have forward looking eyes, keen eyesight, hooked beaks, broad wings, strong legs, and sharp talons on their feet. Like all accipitrids, both hawks and eagles also have a waxy membrane, called a cere. The cere covers the base of their upper mandible, or jaw, and it is often a bright color.


Most eagles tend to be a little larger than hawks are. The majority of eagles are classified as large birds, while hawks are classified as small to medium-size birds. For example, the largest mature wingspan of a hawk is only up to 5 feet, while the adult wingspan of an eagle can reach 8 feet. Hawks usually nest in trees or on cliffs, but some species nest on the ground, while all species of eagles always nest in high places, such as trees or cliffs.



Kirschbaum, Kari. “Accipitridae: INFORMATION.” Animal Diversity Web. University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2012.

“hawk (bird) — Britannica Online Encyclopedia.” Britannica Online Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2012.

“Missouri’s Raptors.” Missouri Department of Conservation. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2012.,0

“Eagles – Introduction | Nature | PBS.” PBS: Public Broadcasting Service. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2012.

“Eagles and Hawks of New York – Upstate NY Wildlife Guide.” New York Waterfalls and Nature – Photography, Maps, Information, Forums. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2012.

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