Hawk Vs Buzzard

Hawk vs Buzzard: The Differences and Similarities

Hawks and buzzards are two predatory birds that are often confused with one another. They are both members of the Accipitridae family, which includes eagles, kites, and vultures. At first glance, hawks and buzzards may look similar, but there are distinct differences between the two. In this article, we will compare hawks and buzzards and discuss their differences and similarities.

Physical Appearance

Hawks are smaller and have a more streamlined body shape than buzzards. They typically have longer wings that are pointed at the tip and a slimmer head than buzzards. Hawks, like buzzards, have a hooked beak that is used for tearing into their prey. They are known for their sharp talons, which are used for grasping prey.

Buzzards, on the other hand, are larger and bulkier than hawks. They have shorter wings than hawks and a less streamlined body shape. Their head is also much larger than hawks, with a more prominent beak. Buzzards have a thicker, sturdier build than hawks.


Both hawks and buzzards are raptors and hunt for their prey. However, hawks are more adept at capturing prey in flight, while buzzards are more skilled at hunting on the ground. Hawks use their speed and agility to catch prey in mid-air, often swooping down from above to surprise their prey.

Buzzards, on the other hand, are more patient hunters. They will often wait for long periods of time, perching on a high branch or rock, to wait for their prey to come to them. Once they have spotted their prey, buzzards will swoop down and use their powerful talons to seize it.


Hawks and buzzards have similar diets and prey on small animals such as rodents, rabbits, and birds. However, hawks tend to have a more varied diet than buzzards. Hawks are skilled hunters and will often hunt a wider range of prey than buzzards.

Buzzards, on the other hand, are scavengers as well as hunters. They will feed on carrion and dead animals in addition to hunting live prey. Buzzards are also known to steal food from other birds, such as seagulls and crows.


Hawks and buzzards can be found in a variety of habitats, including forests, grasslands, and wetlands. However, hawks tend to prefer open areas, such as grasslands and fields, while buzzards are more commonly found in wooded areas.

In terms of geographic range, hawks tend to be more widespread than buzzards. Hawks can be found in all continents except Antarctica, while buzzards are limited to Eurasia, Africa, and parts of North America.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are hawks and buzzards dangerous to humans?
A: Hawks and buzzards are generally not dangerous to humans. They will not attack unless provoked, and attacks on humans are rare.

Q: How do you tell the difference between a hawk and a buzzard?
A: The best way to tell the difference between a hawk and a buzzard is by their physical appearance. Hawks are smaller, slimmer, and have longer wings than buzzards. Buzzards are bulkier with shorter wings. Their head is also larger, with a more prominent beak.

Q: Do hawks and buzzards mate for life?
A: Hawks and buzzards are monogamous and will often mate for life.

Q: Can hawks and buzzards interbreed?
A: No, hawks and buzzards cannot interbreed as they are different species.

Q: Are hawks and buzzards protected by law?
A: Yes, hawks and buzzards are protected by law in many countries due to their importance in the ecosystem. It is illegal to harm or kill them without a permit or license.


In conclusion, hawks and buzzards are both predatory birds that belong to the same family, but they have distinct differences in their physical appearance, behavior, diet, and habitat. While they share some similarities, the easiest way to tell them apart is by their appearance. Both hawks and buzzards play an important role in the ecosystem, and they are protected by law in many countries.