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Eagle vs. Hawk: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on June 7, 2024
Eagles generally have larger bodies and wingspans compared to hawks, and are often seen as symbols of freedom and high perspective. Hawks are generally smaller, can adapt to more varied environments, and are known for their hunting skills.

Key Differences

Eagles are often larger and possess a powerful build, denoting strength and capability. Hawks, in contrast, are more modest in size but are agile and proficient hunters.
While eagles often inhabit areas near large bodies of water due to their preference for fish, hawks tend to be more adaptable, living in varied environments including forests, deserts, and urban areas.
In symbolism, the eagle often represents freedom, power, and high perspective, embodying lofty ideals and vision. Conversely, the hawk symbolizes focus, intensity, and precision, often linked to its razor-sharp hunting skills.
Eagles are characterized by their larger beaks and talons which are well-adapted to their fishing habits. Hawks, on the other hand, possess a shorter and more curved beak, attuned for cutting through the flesh of their prey.
The eagle often features prominently in national symbols and emblems due to its majestic demeanor and regal appearance. Hawks, while equally fascinating, do not quite enjoy the same emblematic status but are admired for their predatory efficiency.

Comparison Chart



Part of Speech


Rhyming Words

Beagle, legal
Mock, flock

Use in an Idiom

"Screaming like a bald eagle"
"Watch someone like a hawk"


Legal (pronunciation similar but not homophones)

Eagle and Hawk Definitions


A large bird of prey with a massive wingspan.
The eagle soared high above the mountains.


A tool used in falconry to hold the bird.
The falconer held the hawk on his gloved wrist with pride.


A golf term denoting two strokes under par on a hole.
She scored an eagle on the par-5 hole.


A person who advocates an aggressive or warlike policy, especially in foreign affairs.
The politician was known as a hawk for his militant strategies.


A gold coin used in the United States bearing the eagle symbol.
He collected a 19th-century gold eagle from a pawn shop.


A board or tray used to carry mortar.
The mason deftly scooped up some mortar on his hawk.


A representation used on a country's emblem.
The eagle is a prominent symbol on the American seal.


A bird of prey known for its hunting prowess and sharp vision.
The hawk swooped down to snatch its prey.


A rank in the Boy Scouts of America.
After years of hard work, he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout.


To sell goods, typically in an aggressive or persistent manner.
Vendors hawk their wares loudly in the bustling market.


Any of various large diurnal birds of prey of the family Accipitridae, including members of the genera Aquila and Haliaeetus, characterized by broad wings, a hooked bill, keen vision, and soaring flight.


Any of various birds of prey, especially of the genera Accipiter and Buteo in the family Accipitridae, characteristically having a short hooked bill and strong claws used for seizing.


A representation of an eagle used as an emblem or insignia.


Is "eagle" used in any sports terminology?

Yes, in golf, an "eagle" means scoring two under par on a hole.

Are eagles larger than hawks?

Yes, eagles generally have larger bodies and wingspans than hawks.

Are eagles and hawks considered symbols of any qualities?

Eagles often symbolize freedom and power, while hawks symbolize precision and vigilance.

Do both eagles and hawks have keen eyesight?

Yes, both eagles and hawks are renowned for their exceptional eyesight.

Can "hawk" also mean to sell something?

Yes, "hawk" can mean to peddle or sell goods, often in a persistent manner.

What’s the meaning of "eagle-eyed"?

"Eagle-eyed" refers to having sharp eyesight, much like an eagle.

Are eagles featured on any national symbols?

Yes, the eagle is featured prominently on the seals and coins of several nations, such as the United States.

What distinguishes a hawk’s beak from an eagle’s?

A hawk generally has a shorter and more curved beak, while an eagle’s beak tends to be larger and more pronounced.

Can "eagle" refer to a rank in a youth organization?

Yes, "Eagle Scout" is the highest rank in the Boy Scouts of America.

Are hawks and eagles both birds of prey?

Yes, both hawks and eagles are raptors or birds of prey.

Are eagles found worldwide?

Eagles are found on every continent except Antarctica.

Are eagles generally solitary creatures?

Yes, eagles are often solitary, especially outside of mating seasons, while hawks can sometimes be seen in groups.

Is "hawk" used in any idiomatic expressions?

Yes, "watching like a hawk" means observing very closely.

Do eagles and hawks share similar prey?

While there's some overlap (like small mammals), eagles often prey on larger animals or fish, and hawks typically target smaller creatures like birds and insects.

Is the word "hawk" used metaphorically in political contexts?

Yes, a "hawk" refers to a person favoring aggressive political strategies, especially in international affairs.

Are hawks known for their agility in the air?

Yes, hawks are known for their impressive agility and hunting skills in flight.

Do hawks have a notable role in falconry?

Yes, hawks are widely used in falconry due to their hunting prowess and trainability.

Do hawks live in varied environments?

Yes, hawks can adapt to varied environments, including deserts, forests, and cities.

Are there specific species of eagles that are endangered?

Yes, certain eagle species, like the Philippine eagle and the Bald eagle (previously), have been listed as endangered.

Is the eagle associated with mythologies?

Yes, the eagle is associated with various mythologies, symbolizing power, and divinity in some cultures.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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