Difference between Hawk and Vulture

Key Difference: Hawks are birds of prey that are usually smaller in size and have less weight. Vultures are large birds of prey.

Both Hawks and Vultures are large birds of prey. These birds have a dark mark along the leading edge of the under wing, between the body and the wrist. They are known for their sharp beaks, strong claws, long tails, powerful and curved beaks, and their ability to soar for great lengths of time.

Hawks are birds of prey that are usually smaller in size and have less weight. Hawks tend to hunt by sudden dashes from a 

concealed perch in trees. They usually reside in wooden areas; and are considered to be among the most intelligent birds. These large-to-medium-sized hawks are usually about the size of some of the smallest eagle species.

Vultures are large birds of prey. Vultures include New World Vultures and Old World Vultures. Old World Vultures are found in Africa, Europe and Asia, whereas, New World Vultures are found in North and South America. Vultures prefer open areas such as desserts, savanna or grasslands and avoid densely vegetated areas. Groups of vultures sometimes attack large livestock such as cows and pigs, killing them and eating them.

Comparison between Hawks and Vultures:




















Over 250 species

Around 20 species


Strong legs, sharp and curved talons, sharp, powerful and curved beaks, powerful wings, keen eyesight, swift fliers, can soar for long periods

Short and rounded tails, high visual activity, broad wings, a long and curved beak of yellow or orange in color, they have a featherless head, underside of chest and wings are white


Vary in color; most are gray or reddish brown on top and whitish underneath. Usually the bills are black, the feet yellow, and the talons black.

They too vary in color; mostly are dark brown with a featherless head and pale bill.

Gender differentiation

Female are usually larger and stronger than the male.

Male and female vultures are identical in appearance. Females are larger than the male.


Usually have darker spots or streaks on the neck, breast, and legs and darker bars on the tail and wings. Their legs are feathered, in some species right down to the toes.

Usually are large and dark with long, broad wings, silvery-colored long fingers at their wingtips. Making a ‘V’ when seen head-on.


Smaller birds and land animals, such as rats, mice, gophers, rabbits, and grasshoppers.

Larger birds and land animals such as cows, pigs, etc.


Mostly hunt by day; bat hawk of Asia and Africa, hunts at night. Hunt by sudden dashes from a concealed perch.

They search for the cleanest animals around. They are also known for scavenging from kills of other predators.


Bulky nests of sticks on rocky cliffs or hills, or in trees. A few species nest on the ground.

Have a habit of building nests. A female vulture laid eggs in a nest, made of sticks and leaves and built in tress and cliffs. The same nest might be used for a number of years or they don’t build nests; they just lay their eggs on the ground.


Whitish or light blue usually spotted with brown, and number between two to seven.

Whitish eggs with dark brown markings.


Covered with white down, looked after by both parents, able to fly after 4 to 6 weeks.

Young vultures are able to leave the nest after 10 weeks.

Image Courtesy: artofmanliness.com, birdsguide.blogspot.in

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