Difference Wiki

Hawk vs. Vulture: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on January 20, 2024
Hawks are agile birds of prey known for their keen vision and hunting skills, while vultures are scavengers, feeding mainly on carrion and known for their strong immune systems.

Key Differences

Hawks possess a sharp, curved beak and strong talons for hunting live prey, while vultures have a more robust beak suited for tearing carrion.
Hawks actively hunt for live prey such as small mammals and birds, using their speed and agility. Vultures, on the other hand, primarily feed on dead animals, using their keen sense of smell to locate carrion.
Hawks inhabit a wide range of environments, from forests to open fields, and are found worldwide. Vultures are more specialized, often found in open and semi-open areas, with a distribution that varies between species.
Hawks are generally solitary hunters, although they may form pairs during mating season. Vultures are more social, often seen feeding in groups and roosting communally.
Many hawk species are stable, though some face threats from habitat loss and pesticides. Vultures are among the most threatened groups of birds, with several species facing critical endangerment due to poisoning and habitat changes.

Comparison Chart


Predominantly live prey
Mostly carrion

Beak Shape

Sharp and curved
Robust and strong

Hunting Method

Solitary hunters

Social Behavior

Generally solitary
Often in groups

Conservation Status

Varies, some stable
Many critically endangered

Hawk and Vulture Definitions


Someone who advocates for aggressive or warlike policies.
In the meeting, he was a hawk, arguing for immediate action.


An opportunistic or greedy individual.
He was a vulture, always looking for a way to make quick money.


To sell goods, often loudly or in public places.
Street vendors hawk their wares in the bustling market.


A symbol of death or doom.
In the novel, the vulture represented impending disaster.


To clear the throat loudly, often to attract attention.
He hawked loudly before beginning his speech.


Someone who profits from the misfortune of others.
Vultures in the business world often take advantage of failing companies.


A bird of prey with sharp talons and keen eyesight.
The hawk swooped down on its prey with incredible speed.


A person who preys on or exploits others.
After the scandal, vultures from the press swarmed the politician.


A tool used by plasterers to hold mortar.
The worker skillfully used the hawk to apply plaster.


A large bird, often scavenging for carrion.
Vultures circled above, waiting to feast on the leftovers.


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.


Any of various large birds of prey characteristically having dark plumage and a featherless head and neck and generally feeding on carrion. Species found in the Americas are in the family Cathartidae, and those found in Eurasia and Africa are in the family Accipitridae.


Any of various similar birds of prey.


A person of a rapacious, predatory, or profiteering nature.


Any of several carrion-eating birds of the families Accipitridae and Cathartidae.


A person who profits from the suffering of others.
Within ten minutes of the accident, the vultures appeared and were organizing lawsuits.


To circle around one's target as if one were a vulture.
Rudy vultured when asking the girl out.


(obsolete) ravenous; rapacious


Any one of numerous species of rapacious birds belonging to Vultur, Cathartes, Catharista, and various other genera of the family Vulturidæ.


Any of various large diurnal birds of prey having naked heads and weak claws and feeding chiefly on carrion


Someone who attacks in search of booty


Do hawks mate for life?

Some hawk species are monogamous and may mate for life.

Are hawks solitary creatures?

Yes, hawks are generally solitary, especially when hunting.

Can hawks see well?

Hawks have excellent vision, crucial for spotting prey from great distances.

How fast can a hawk fly?

Hawks can dive at speeds of over 150 mph when hunting.

Do vultures hunt live prey?

No, vultures primarily feed on carrion and rarely hunt live prey.

Are vultures important to the ecosystem?

Yes, vultures play a vital role in ecosystems by cleaning up dead animals.

Are all vultures large birds?

Most vulture species are large, but their size can vary.

What is the primary threat to vultures?

The primary threat to vultures is poisoning, either accidental or intentional.

What do hawks eat?

Hawks eat small mammals, birds, and reptiles.

Are hawks found in urban areas?

Some hawk species have adapted well to urban environments.

Can hawks be trained?

Hawks can be trained for falconry, a practice that dates back centuries.

Are vultures endangered?

Many vulture species are endangered due to habitat loss and poisoning.

Do hawks have good hearing?

Hawks have decent hearing, but their vision is their primary sense.

Do hawks migrate?

Some hawk species migrate, while others are resident year-round.

What is the wingspan of a vulture?

Vultures can have wingspans of up to 10 feet, depending on the species.

Can vultures smell?

Yes, some vultures have a highly developed sense of smell to locate carrion.

Do vultures have a social structure?

Vultures often roost and feed in groups, showing a form of social behavior.

How do vultures prevent disease from carrion?

Vultures have strong stomach acids that kill harmful bacteria.

What is the lifespan of a hawk?

Hawks can live up to 20 years in the wild, depending on the species.

Do vultures have any natural predators?

Vultures have few natural predators but face threats from human activities.
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
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons