Owls are active at night while hawks sleep. Owls eyes are forward but hawks are on the sides. Hawks can dive at 150 mph. Hawks build nests and Owls bury into trees. Owls can fly in silence. Owls can eat small animals whole while hawks tear up prey. Owls can tilt heads 180.
Hawks and owls are both considered birds of prey, as are falcons, eagles, vultures, and ospreys. Raptors have a wide variety of feeding patterns. Hawks and owls are extremely advanced birds who dominate the food chain.
Raptors were killed in the past by guns, pole traps, and poison. The negative term chicken hawk was once used to refer to all raptors but not anymore.
Many people have recently established a more positive attitude toward raptors and their ecological position, mainly because it keeps the ecosystem balance.
Even though hawks and owls are birds of prey, but they are two very different animals.
Hawk Versus Owl: What Is The Difference?
Both are carnivorous, hook-billed birds; however, the owl is mostly a night bird (nocturnal), while the hawk is busy throughout the day and sleeps at night (diurnal).
An owl’s eyes are positioned forward, as are those of a person, while a hawk’s eyes, like those of the majority of birds, are set on the sides of its head. As a result, an owl would move its head to look to the sides and rear, while a hawk may see forward and to all sides without turning its head.
The majority of owls live in cavities (hollowed cavities in branches, burrows in the earth, or in specially constructed nest boxes for owls). Hawks build huge uncovered nests in trees.
The wings of an owl are wide and narrow, quickly tapering to the top, allowing for quick flight and descent, while the wings of a hawk are long and broad, designed for soaring and searching the terrain for possible prey. Their feathers are distinctive; owls have specially adapted feathers that allow them to travel silently.
Owls will even tilt their heads 180 degrees, and it’s a little frightening when one flies above your head and then bends its head back to look at you.
Owls chase mice, birds, and little cats or dogs on the grass. Hawks hunt all land creatures and insects, including very large birds. Hawks tear their prey’s flesh off. Owls consume tiny animals such as mice and then spit up uneaten bones and feathers.
Owls usually land on top of their prey and remain stationary until their meal perishes in their grasp. Hawks are most likely to swoop down and lift off with their prey rather than immediately smashing it to death. Since they are on the ground and helpless, owls usually stay quiet during a kill. As a result, they need a fast method of assassination.
This is facilitated by the two-by-two talon setup. This allows them to safely make kills at night and then swallow their prey whole, if possible. It is entirely about silence. Since a hawk can fly away with the meal, they are unconcerned about a fast shot. The crushing power of an owl is far more powerful than a hawk of comparable height. A Great Horned Owl’s four talons are capable of puncturing the brain, which cannot be done with a Red-tailed Hawk.
What exactly is a hawk?
The word “Hawk” refers to an entire diurnal community (active during the day). Their sharp, curved talons are used to capture food, and their powerful beaks are hooked for biting and tearing flesh. Certain hawks will dive at rates of up to 150 miles per hour. They make lengthy migrations, covering thousands of miles per year – a testament of their power and endurance. Their hearing is exceptional, and their eyesight is unmatched in the animal kingdom. Not only do hawks see farther than people, their optical acuity is eight times higher.
Large hawks lay just one or two eggs per year, whereas small hawks lay between three and five. Three to six weeks are needed for incubation, depending on the species.
Small hawks, such as kestrels and sharp-shinned hawks, reach maturity in around a month; big birds, such as eagles reach maturity in around 11 weeks. At this stage, the young leave the nest (fledge) but often stay with their parents for many additional weeks before achieving complete independence.
Owls are predators; they hunt, destroy, and consume other species to live. This predatory behavior is neither barbaric nor inefficient, and it has occurred for millions of years. It seldom causes a stir, except for a few individuals.
Though certain owl species are diurnal (active throughout the day), most owl species hunt at night and are seldom seen by humans. Due to their nocturnal (nighttime) lifestyle, owls are relatively unknown and mostly overlooked, including the fact that some owls spend their whole lives near humans.
When owls hunt at night, they depend on their superior vision and hearing to spot their prey. They fly unnoticed with their broad wings, light arms, and exceptionally long, fluffy feathers. Owls use their strong claws to capture their prey, which is often a mouse or other small animal. If the prey is small, it can be swallowed whole; if not, it is shredded to pieces by the owl’s hooked beak. Its digestive system digests the edible components of its prey; the undigested parts (hair, bones, paws, and teeth, for example) are regurgitated as pellets.
When it comes to differentiating between a hawk and an owl, the main thing you should think about is one kills at night while the other kills during the day. The owl hunts at night, so they focus on silence and speed, whereas the hawk kills during the day, so they just grab their prey and leave.
Either way, both are raptors that have long been studied. They help keep the ecosystem balance, and their majestic and hunting style is why we admired them so much.