What is the Difference Between Eagle and Vulture

The main difference between eagle and vulture lies in their eating habits. While eagles hunt other animals for their food, vultures feed on animal carcasses.

Although both eagles and vultures are birds of prey, they are different from each other in terms of their shape, their hunting style, their flight pattern, and plumage.

Key Areas Covered

1. Eagle  
   – Appearance, Characteristics, and Behavior
2. Vulture
     – Appearance, Characteristics, and Behavior
3. Similarities Between Eagle and Vulture
     – Outline of Common Characteristics
4. Difference Between Eagle and Vulture
    – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Birds of Prey, Eagle, Vulture

Difference Between Eagle and Vulture - Comparison Summary

Eagle – Appearance, Characteristics, and Behavior

Eagles are predatory birds. However, in contrast to other birds of prey, eagles have stronger builds, heavier heads, and bigger beaks. Generally, eagles are larger than the other predatory birds, with the exception of vultures. Some eagles weigh up to almost 18 lbs. Eagles are not only predators but also scavengers similar to vultures. They are recognized for their speed and great vision, which makes them great hunters.

Eagle - Appearance, Characteristics, and Behavior

An eagle’s eyesight is sharper than the eyesight of most other predatory birds. It is believed to be at least 4-8 times sharper than human eyesight. An eagle also has the natural ability to grow new feathers, claws and its beak if encountered with any severe damage. Furthermore, the eagles are mainly identified under two different species: the sea eagle and land eagle. Sea eagles usually inhabit coastal areas and feed on fish and other aquatic organisms.

Vulture – Appearance, Characteristics, and Behavior

Vultures are a type of predatory bird found in medium to large sizes. However, unlike eagles, vultures are not known for their hunting skills. Instead, the vultures feed on animal carcasses. There are 23 species of vultures all around the world. Some of these species have powerful eyesight, whereas the rest have a very strong sense of smell. Vultures usually have a solid body, shaggy and loose feathers when compared to those of eagles. Furthermore, vultures generally have a dull brown or black shade in their body.

Vulture - Appearance, Characteristics, and Behavior

Most vultures have a bald head and throat, which is believed to be beneficial when they feed inside animal carcasses and also in controlling their body heat. The hooked and robust beak of the vultures allows them to tear and open these animal dead bodies. Moreover, in comparison to other predatory birds, vultures also have relatively broader wings.

Similarities between Eagle and Vulture

  1. Both eagles and vultures are birds of prey.
  2. They belong to the diurnal birds of prey family.
  3. Both eagles and vultures feed on dead animals.

Difference Between Eagle and Vulture


Eagle is a bird of prey that mainly hunt for its food while vultures are scavenging predators that mainly eat dead animals.


Generally, vultures are bigger in size than eagles.


Moreover, eagles have very sharp eyesight but vultures’ eyesight is not as sharp as that of eagles.


Vultures are carrion eaters who usually feed grouped with other vultures and carrion-eating birds. The eating speed of a vulture is unbelievable as they can eat around 2 pounds of meat in one minute. However, eagles are considered to hold the topmost position in the food chain. The diet of the eagle depends on the eagle species and the habitat in which they live. For instance, Golden eagles are carnivorous and feed on mammals such as rabbits, ground squirrels, marmots, and hares, while Bald eagles mainly feed on fish.


The main difference between eagle and vulture is that eagles are skilful hunters, whereas vultures rarely hunt for themselves and instead feed on carrion. Therefore, it is believed that eagles are more reliable predators than vultures. Furthermore, the eagle has the ability to use its strong talons and cause some serious injury to a vulture, even to bring down a vulture to its death.


1. “Eagle Nesting & Young.” National Eagle Center – Wabasha, Minnesota, 16 Dec. 2019.
2. “Vulture.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Bald-eagle-bird-bird-of-prey-adler-5351335” (CC0) via Pixabay
2. “Vulture-bird-of-prey-scavengers-3535461” (CC0) via Pixabay

About the Author: Anuradha

Anuradha has a BA degree in English, French, and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Master's degree in Teaching English Literature in a Second Language Context. Her areas of interests include Arts and Literature, Language and Education, Nature and Animals, Cultures and Civilizations, Food, and Fashion.

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