If you’re new to falconry, you may be unsure how to tell the difference between different Birds of Prey. This is very common when it comes to telling the difference between a Hawk and a Falcon.
However, there are some key things to look out for that will help to tell them apart. Keep reading to find out more!
Falcons typically fall into the same genus, falco, whilst hawks fall into a number of genus. For example Falco Tinnunculus (Kestrel), Falco Peregrinus (peregrine falcon), Accipiter gentilis (Goshawk), Parabeuteo Unicinctus (Harris Hawk).
Secondly, falcons have a notch on their beak known as a tooth whilst hawks have a simple curve of the beak.
With this, falcons use their beak to kill their prey by using the ‘tooth’ to sever the neck of their prey. Whereas, hawks use the talons of their feet to kill their prey.
Typically, falcons hunt other birds and even bats, whereas, Hawks hunt rabbits, rats and small mammals such as voles and mice. When a falcon catches its prey in flight, this is referred to as “on the wing”.
Speed of flight
Falcons are very fast in flight especially the peregrine falcon whereas hawks are much slower in flight and would basically just glide on a descent.
A peregrine falcon, for instance, can reach speeds of 200 mph whereas the red-tailed hawk dives at a speed of at least 120 miles per hour.
Falcons are smaller birds than hawks which are generally large but with shorter wings compared to falcons. Hence why it is common to hear of a falcon referred to as a ‘long wing’.
As with other birds of prey, falcons and hawks also show sexual dimorphism. This is when two sexes of the same species exhibit other characteristics beyond the differences in their sexual organs.
For example, a male Harris Hawk can weigh around 1lb 2oz to 1lb 8oz whereas the female of the species can weigh between 1lb 12oz to 2lb 6oz. Sexual dimorphism is prevalent in Birds of Prey and typically, the female of the species is always around ⅓ larger than their male counterpart.
At The Hawking Centre, we have a stunning range of Birds of Prey including Hawks and Falcons. If you’re like to meet them and experience flying them for yourself, book one of our incredible falconry experiences.