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difference between hawk and falcon - animal creative facts

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Falcons and hawks are actually not closely related - they are in different orders, hawks/eagles/kites/harriers/osprey/etc are Accipitriformes, while falcons are Falconiformes.

They used to be classified in the same order, based on similarities in morphology, behavior. However, genetic evidence suggested a reshuffling of the taxonomy. Turns out Falcons actually share a more recent common ancestor with parrots, woodpeckers, and songbirds than they share with hawks.

The reason the behavior and morphology is similar is something called "convergent evolution", they adapt over time to fulfill similar ecological roles and that leads to similarities, even though they are not closely related.

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4 hours ago, AlexHenry said:

As to who would win in a fight, it depends - a Gyrfalcon could destroy a Borad-winged Hawk, I'd imagine, while a Ferruginous Hawk could swallow a Kestrel whole and not think twice about it

I will never get the image of a Ferruginous hawk swallowing a Kestrel out of my head😂

Edited by Nivalis
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3 hours ago, Lisa Coy said:

I have not ever been quite good at differentiating between these two with my naked eyes esp when they are soaring.

Wing shape is probably the best way to differentiate them when they’re in flight. Falcons generally have thinner, pointier wings than hawks.


Drawing from https://www.birdsoutsidemywindow.org/2011/04/19/falcon-or-hawk/

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