Eagle vs Falcon: What are the Differences & Who Would Win in a Fight?

Written by Kyle Glatz
Updated: March 7, 2023
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Different species of eagles dominate the skies in North America, Europe, and many other places throughout the world. Eagles are large, powerful, and a national symbol of the United States. Falcons are present in just about every part of the world, and they’re known for being the fastest animals on earth.  When you pit two powerful raptors against each other in an eagle vs falcon fight, which bird gets to fly away at the end? We’re going to show you which of these birds has what it takes to win!

Comparing an Eagle and a Falcon

Eagles are generally larger than falcons.

©Nadeem Rahimi/Shutterstock.com

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EagleFalcon
SizeWeight: 1.1lbs – 15lbs
Height: 15.7in – 39in
Wingspan: 27in – 98in
Weight:  1.5lbs – 3.3lbs
Height: 9in – 19in
Wingspan: 29 in – 42in
Top Dive Speed150-200 mph  200 mph– 240 mph  
Beaks and Talons– Large, curved beak
– 4 long, sharp talons on each foot
– Sharp, pointed beak
– Short, sharp, narrow talons
Senses– Amazing sense of sight that allows it to see between four and eight times farther than a human.
– Human-like hearing
– Poor sense of smell
– Amazing sense of vision allowing them to spot prey from over a mile off.
–  Good sense of hearing.
– Poor sense of smell.
Defenses– High speed to escape trouble
– Senses of sight helps avoid damage
– Incredibly high speed – Senses help them avoid enemies.  
Offensive Capabilities– Heavy, sharp beak can rip into enemy
– Talons allow eagles to grip and tear flesh
– Speed allows for surprise attacks
Powerful dive technique that combines stealth with a brutal attack utilizing their talons. – May attack from below their enemy as well  
Predatory Behavior– Eagles catch their prey and crush it with talons while tearing into it.
– They are ambush predators that go into a steep, fast dive before landing a kill.
– They sight their prey or carrion from far off. – Falcons hunt from the air, diving at their prey and smashing their talons into it.  

What Are Key Differences Between an Eagle and a Falcon?

Eagles are larger, have bigger beaks, and hunt differently than falcons.

©iStock.com/LaserLens

There are several differences that separate eagles and falcons. Eagles are heavier and taller than falcons. Also, eagles have a much larger wingspan than a falcon. Falcons are much faster in a steep dive than eagles. Eagles have longer beaks that feature a significant curve, and falcons have a sharp, pointed beak that is shorter than an eagle but also curve.

Eagles are also known for being more aggressive than falcons, hence why the latter is more frequently trained. Lastly, falcons kill their prey right away, but eagles can grasp their prey and then kill it later.

The Key Factors in a Fight Between an Eagle and a Falcon

Types of Falcon Birds

Looking at the physical elements and combat powers of eagles and falcons helps us determine the winner!

©Rob Francis/Shutterstock.com

The battle between a falcon and an eagle requires a fairly in-depth exploration of the creatures and their abilities. That is why we are going to break down the key factors of this potential battle. These include five elements of eagles’ and falcons’ physical characteristics as well as their combat methods. With all this information, we will determine which animal is most likely to win.

Physical Features of an Eagle and a Falcon

Largest Eagles in the World: White-tailed Eagle

Eagles are large birds that can have wingspans

over 7 feet in width!

©Jerry Bouwmeester/Shutterstock.com

Size, speed, and power— these are all elements that can influence a fight between two animals. We are going to look at several physical attributes of these animals and compare them. By recognizing the creature with the most advantages over the other, we will gain an understanding of what would happen in this fight.  

Eagle vs Falcon: Size

Eagles are surprisingly large birds of prey. They can reach weights of 15lbs, stand over 3ft tall, and have a wingspan over 7ft! Falcons are smaller, weighing just about 3-4lbs, standing less than 2ft tall, and having a wingspan of 3.5ft. The largest falcon in the world is the gyrfalcon, which has a wingspan that can exceed 5ft in length. While that’s large for a bird, it’s much small than the more than 8ft wingspans some of the largest eagles can reach.

Eagles are the larger bird and get the advantage in this situation.

Eagle vs Falcon: Speed

Certain species of the eagle can be very swift. In fact, the golden eagle can dive and reach speeds of 200mph. However, the peregrine falcon is much faster, reaching a maximum dive speed of 240mph.

Falcons have the advantage in speed.

Eagle vs Falcon: Beaks and Talons

Eagles have long, curved, and heavy beaks that they use to assist with eating carrion and killing their prey. Eagles also have 4 very long and sharp talons on each foot that they use to grab and kill their prey. Falcons have sharp, pointed beaks and thinner, sharp talons.  

Eagles have the advantage in terms of beaks and talons.

Eagle vs Falcon: Senses

Both eagles and falcons have an amazing sense of sight. They are capable of seeing prey from miles away. They also have average hearing and a very poor sense of smell.

The senses of these two raptors are rather similar, so we’re going to call them equal.  

Eagle vs Falcon: Physical Defenses

Although the eagle is a larger animal, its physical defenses don’t include its size. The eagle’s predators are always much larger. Instead, both the eagle and falcon rely on their speed and ability to recognize dangerous situations.

The physical defenses of these birds are equal.

Combat Skills of an Eagle and a Falcon

Peregrine Falcon in flight, ready to land

Peregrine falcons can attack enemies while flying over 200 mph!

©TPCImagery – Mike Jackson/Shutterstock.com

Although eagles and falcons are alike in many respects, they do have some serious differences in the way they fight. Eagles will locate their prey, ambush it, and grab their prey with their talons, severely injuring it and then finishing it off. Sometimes, they eat their prey while it’s alive, but it doesn’t last for long.

Falcons will use their deep-diving technique to build up speed, and then they’ll ram their talons into their prey. That will often kill their prey outright or send them careening to the ground where they’ll die from the fall. The falcon will then finish their prey on the ground with their talons and beak.

Both birds are highly effective at attacking their prey.

Who Would Win in a Fight Between an Eagle and a Falcon?

bald eagle close up

An eagle would beat a falcon in a fight.

©iStock.com/R Lolli Morrow

An eagle would beat a falcon in a fight. The fight between an eagle and a falcon in real life would come down to which animal could successfully launch an ambush attack. If a falcon hits an eagle with all its might in a dive, then the eagle would be in trouble. Likewise, if the eagle gasped the falcon, then the much smaller bird would not be able to get away.

In a fight where both birds saw each other and just decided to fight with one another, the eagle would almost certainly win. The eagle’s body is stronger, its talons are more capable of causing injury, and the eagle’s much stronger beak would tear the falcon apart.

The match could go either way with stealth. However, if the eagle survived the stealth attack from the falcon, it would probably turn the tables and kill it. The same cannot be said for the falcon being attacked by the eagle; it would be grabbed and killed. For all these reasons, the eagle would kill the falcon in a fight.

What Animals Can Defeat an Eagle?

Wolverine Animal Facts - Wolverine Showing Teeth

Wolverines are notorious for killing creatures much larger than them.

©DenisaPro/Shutterstock.com

Since bald eagles are apex predators, they are considered to be at the top of the food chain in their environment and have few natural threats in their day-to-day lives. There are, however, some circumstances where these fierce rulers of the sky could meet their match if put up against another predator from outside of their usual habitat. Wolverines are one opponent that could prove especially challenging for the eagle to defeat.

If the bird chose its target carefully and was able to swoop in and attack a lone wolverine from above, it could potentially come out victorious. This scenario is highly unlikely to play out so favorably for an eagle in reality, as wolverines almost exclusively travel in packs, meaning the solitary eagle would be up against a whole team of vicious wolverines launching offensives from all angles. Because of this wolverines would almost always defeat an eagle in a fight.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Genfirstlight


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About the Author

Kyle Glatz is a writer at A-Z-Animals where his primary focus is on geography and mammals. Kyle has been writing for researching and writing about animals and numerous other topics for 10 years, and he holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Education from Rowan University. A resident of New Jersey, Kyle enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games.

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