110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
Nature Scenes: What’s the difference between hawks and falcons?
By Lynn Bowen
posted Feb 23, 2014 - 10:48:04am
Hawks and falcons are fierce raptors with strong beaks and killer talons. How does one know the difference between the two?
Falcons are compact, fast-flying raptors with long, pointed wings enabling twisting maneuvers and high-speed dives. The flight pattern of falcons is to beat their wings rapidly and seldom glide. Speaking of speed, did you know that peregrine falcons fly faster than any other bird in the world -- up to 180 mph!
Falcons use their long, sharp talons to grasp their flying prey. Their short, rounded head has a hooked beak with a notch near the tip of the upper jaw for crushing the neck vertebrae of their diet of mainly birds.
Hawks have sleek, pointed heads and smooth, hooked beaks. When flying, they flap their wings slowly due to their wing shape being wider in relation to their bodies than that of falcons. The wings usually have rounded ends.
Hawks eat ground prey like mice, rabbits and squirrels, and generally stay in woodlands.
The falcons in Florida include the kestrel, peregrine falcon (occasionally), and merlin, while common hawks here are red-tailed hawks, red-shouldered hawks, short-tailed hawks, and broad-winged hawks. All these birds of prey have beautiful plumage, and are amazing hunters and fliers!
So if anyone needed to know the answer to the trivia question on how to tell the difference between falcons and hawks, now you know!
— Bowen lives in DeLand. Send email to her at email@example.com.
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