If you are fond of birds and like to identify them in the sky, you may have seen quite a few bald eagles or a white headed hawk around. The hawk is obviously known for its distinct upper body while the eagles are popular for their dark brown body with a white tail and head and wide wings.
The bald eagles are the national bird of the United State and actually are the icons in American culture. However, there are many other raptors and birds that look like these creatures.
Commonly known as a white headed hawk or white-tailed hawk, it belongs to the Buteoninae subfamily, is up to 22 inches long, and boasts broad wings. In addition to a white head, it has white underwings and body but the upper wings have a black color. The white hawks have a short black tail with one white band. In addition, it has yellow legs.
The red-tailed hawks are commonly found in Mexico, Canada, and the United States. These are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and are commonly seen in urban areas, agricultural fields, deserts, grasslands, forests, and coniferous. They have a rich-brown tail while their underwings are pale with dark marks.
In addition, they have hooked yet short and dark beaks but the adult red-tailed hawks have wide tails in cinnamon color. These hawks have white throats but the head is brown. When compared with bald eagles, the red-tailed hawks have a red tail and brown head but the bald eagle has a white tail and head. Also, they are smaller than bald eagles.
They are also known as buzzards and turkey buzzards in the North American regions and are usually seen in the open areas. For the most part, they are seen in landfills, roadsides, suburbs, construction sites, fence posts, farm fields, and the countryside. If you are from the Caribbean region, they are also known as carrion crows or John crows.
The turkey vultures have a dark brown plumage with featherless heads in bright red color. The beaks are hooked and pale while the wings are broad and long with grey feathers. The most important characteristic is their sharp toenails, but the legs are pale. The differences are quite visible, but we do want to add the pale black tails of turkey vultures as compared to the white tail of bald eagles.
Western ospreys are commonly known as fish hawks and seahawks. These are the fish-eating birds found in the tropical and temperate regions of North America, especially Florida, Alaska, and California. These raptors usually prefer to live around rivers, reservoirs, estuaries, ponds, and saltmarshes. They have white underparts but the wings and back are brown.
Just like bald eagles, western ospreys also have white heads and eyes that have a wide brown line (may we say their eyes are exceptionally beautiful?). The beaks have a strong hooked shape and have a black appearance. In addition, western ospreys have a slender body while the wings are narrow and long, which is a common difference between bald eagles and western ospreys.
These are the medium-large birds found in northern Mexico, the western United States, and southern Canada. These birds like roaming around the prairies, deserts, plains, alpine meadows, and sagebrush. They have brown plumage along with brown spotting on the underpart areas. These birds are known for their sharply-pointed, long wings while the beaks are short and have yellow skin on them.
These are one of the most beautiful lookalikes of a bald eagle with their pale cheeks and a white line all over the eyes. The female prairie falcons tend to be bigger than their male counterparts. However, we do want to add to their flight style, the stoop.
The Andean condors are usually found in the Santa Marta Mountains and Andes mountains. They like to be in the non-forested and open areas. In addition, they are seen in the cliffs and meadows during the winter season for roosting and nesting. They boast a dark black plumage all over them, white feather frill, and have a red to blackish head.
Andean condors have a sharply hooked and short beak, but you know what’s most surprising, they don’t have eyelashes. The male birds have big white patches on their wings but those patches aren’t there on female birds. Also, they use their sharp nails to catch their prey and their short legs actually speed up their flight.
These are the medium-sized birds that can be seen in the tropical and temperate parts of Australia, Asia, Europe, and Africa. Contrary to what the name says, they aren’t so black but they do look like black kites when they are flying higher in the sky. They have brown plumage with the outer feathers having a black appearance.
Black kites have a longer wingspan while their beaks are black and ceres are yellow. These birds have black claws and yellow legs. For the most part, they are bigger as compared to the male black kites. Their bottom part is quite similar to bald eagles but their feathers are less shaggy compared to the eagle’s feathers.
Northern goshas are seen in the western and northeastern United States, Alaska, Western Europe, and Western Canada. The birds can breed in huge mountainous areas, such as the Rocky Mountains. In addition, northern goshas prefer wild forests, such as deciduous and coniferous areas. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that these are stocky raptors and have a slate grey cap.
These birds have a grey belly while the chest is barrel. They have white eyebrows with rounded eyes in red to orange color. Northern goshas have broader wings, hooked beaks, and longer tails. In addition, adult birds have a paler appearance and white underparts. They look like bald eagles due to their sharp claws and yellow legs.
Also known as American black vultures, they are the large raptors that can be seen in South America as well as the northeastern United States. However, some people have also seen them in Canada, but they are seen in the open areas. As for roosting and resting, they opt for wooden areas. They are black with silver patches on their wingtips.
In addition, the black vultures have rounded and short tails but their necks and heads are unfeathered and small. Black vultures have white legs and their claws are pretty sharp. As far as their beaks are concerned, they are pale and hooked. Not to forget, they have shaggy plumage all over the body.
Northern harriers are seen in Canada’s northern hemisphere and the northern United States, but they tend to breed in Central America, Mexico, and the southern United States. Usually, northern harriers opt for open areas, including crop fields, prairies, marshes, and grasslands. They are popular for the grey plumage but there is also a white rump patch. Also, the females have whitish undersides and brown streaks that cannot be seen in male harriers.
If you think about it, there are quite a few birds that look like bald eagles, but you can easily differentiate between them due to their unique features. However, red-tailed hawks look the most similar to bald eagles or white headed hawks.