Top 10 Biggest Birds in the World

Here are the top 10 biggest birds in the world, including flightless birds.

male and female ostrich

Photo: Kandukuru Nagarjun

The largest birds in the world in descending order by maximum weight in pounds:

  1. Common Ostrich, 346
  2. Somali Ostrich, 287
  3. Southern Cassowary, 190
  4. Northern cassowary, 170
  5. Emu, 150
  6. Emperor Penguin, 100
  7. Greater Rhea, 88
  8. Domestic Turkey, 86
  9. Dwarf Cassowary, 75
  10. Lesser Rhea, 63

Ostrich - World's Largest Bird

The male Ostrich is the largest and tallest bird in the world, weighing up to 346 pounds and can get as tall as 9 feet!

The fastest speed recorded for an ostrich was 60 mph!

Imagine seeing an Ostrich pass you on a 55 mph speed limit highway? :-)

Ostriches have the largest eyes for a land animal - 2 inches in diameter.

Their large eyes helps them to spot predators such as lions.

Ostriches also have the largest eggs among birds.

ostrich egg compared to chicken egg size

Photo: Mike Scott

The average length of an egg is six inches long and average weight is three pounds which is equivalent to 24 large-sized chicken eggs!

Top 10 Biggest Flying Birds in the World by Weight

Here are the largest flying birds in the world by weight.

mute swan with cygnets

Photo: Rachel Kramer

All of the below listed birds are capable of flight, although some, such as the bustards, only fly short distances.

The domestic turkey can average heavier weights, up to 86 pounds, but are not capable of sustained flight.

The largest flying birds in the world in descending order by maximum weight in pounds:

  1. Mute Swan, 51
  2. Great Bustard, 44
  3. Kori Bustard, 44
  4. Trumpeter Swan (largest waterfowl species), 38
  5. Wandering Albatross (longest wing span), 38
  6. Wild Turkey (largest game bird), 37
  7. Whooper Swan, 32
  8. Andean Condor, 33
  9. Dalmation Pelican, 33
  10. Eurasian Black Vulture, 31

Mute Swan - World's Heaviest Flying Bird

The average weight of a male Mute Swan is 23-26 pounds, but one male from Poland weighed 51 pounds, which was recorded/verified as the world's heaviest flying bird.

Swan names for males, females, and young:

  • Male: Cob
  • Female: Pen
  • Young: Cygnet

Mute swans aren't mute! They do make call sounds, but generally are quieter than other swans.

Top 10 Biggest Flying Birds in the World by Wingspan

wandering albatross wingspan

Photo: Ronald Woan

Here are the 10 largest birds by wingspan in descending feet, and by more precise meters since there is more overlap in using feet.

  1. Wandering Albatross, 12, 3.7
  2. Great White Pelican, 12, 3.6
  3. Southern Royal Albatross, 12, 3.5
  4. Dalmatian Pelican, 12, 3.5
  5. Tristan Albatross, 11, 3.5
  6. Amsterdam Alabatross, 11, 3.4
  7. Antipodian Albatross, 11, 3.3
  8. Andean Condor, 11, 3.3
  9. Northern Royal Albatross, 10, 3.2
  10. Maribou Stork, 10, 3.1

Wandering Albatross - Largest Flying Bird in the World by Wingspan

The Wandering Albatross with its 12 foot wingspan allows them to glide for hours over the ocean via dynamic soaring without even flapping once.

A Wandering Albatross can circumnavigate the earth in just 46 days, traveling up to 600 miles a day without expending much energy by soaring,

Wandering Albatross have an elbow-lock mechanism to keep their wings locked in the extended soaring position without having to expend any energy to maintain that position.

NASA engineers are designing a UAV (unmanned/unwomanned aerial vehicle) based upon the ability of the Wandering Albatross to soar passively for months at a time.

Biggest Bird of Prey

We divided the largest bird of prey species into several categories since in varies depending on wingspan, length. and height and weather they are primarily flying birds of prey vs semi-flightless (mostly terrestrial.

Largest Flying Bird of Prey (by Wingspan)

The Andean Condor has the longest wingspan for a bird of prey at 10.5 feet.

male andean condor flying

Photo: Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble

It is also the heaviest bird of prey, weighing up to 33 pounds!

The maximum length of an Andean Condor is 51 inches, 4 inches shorter than the California Condor.

Largest Flying Bird of Prey (by Length/Height)

The California Condor averages longer in length than any other raptor, up to 55 inches, but has a shorter wingspan than the Andean Condor, 9.5 feet vs 10.5 feet.

Tallest Bird of Prey

At up to 5 feet tall, with a wingspan of 7 feet, and weighing up to 9.5 pounds, the Secretarybird is one of the largest/tallest birds of prey. It is capable of flight, but mostly is terrestrial, and can walk up to 20 miles a day!


Biggest Eagle by Weight

The largest eagle by weight is the Steller's Sea Eagle, weighing up to 20 pounds.

On average, it outweighs the Harpy Eagle and Philippine Eagle, which has the longest wingspan.

Steller's Sea Eagle

Biggest Eagle by Wingspan

The White-tailed Sea Eagle has the longest wingspan of 86 inches, slightly longer than the Steller's at 83 inches.

Biggest Eagle by Length/Height

The longest eagle measured from head to toe is the Philippine Eagle at 39 inches - 2 inches more than the Steller's at 37 inches.

Biggest Extinct Eagle

The extinct Haast's Eagle of New Zealand was the largest eagle to have lived. It had a wingspan of up to 10 feet and weighed up to 33 pounds.

Biggest Owl

The largest owl in the world is the Eurasian Eagle Owl.

They have striking deep-orange colored eyes.

eurasian eagle owl

Photo: Cloudtail the Snow Leopard (Flickr)

This Eurasian Eagle Owl has a wingspan of 6 feet and can weigh more than 9 pounds.

Eurasian Eagle Owl

The majority of their diet consists of small mammals, but they'll eat anything from as small as insects to as big as deer fawn.

In the wild, they can live up to 20 years old. In captivity, up to to 60 years.

Largest Songbird/Passerine

The biggest songbird is the Common Raven.

The Raven wingspan is up to 46.5 inches, weight - 57.3 ounces, length - 27.2 inches.

Ravens are highly intelligent, capable of problem-solving, and can even use tools. like sticks to get grubs out of crevices.

Common Raven - Smarter Than the Average Bird

Some say their intelligence rivals those of some apes, with the learning capacity of a 7-year old child. Their brains are one of the largest of all birds relative to their body size.

Biggest Bird in the World (Extinct)

The largest bird that ever lived and is now extinct was an elephant bird, Vorombe titan, of the extinct family Aepyornithidae.

eurasian eagle owl

Photo: Delaware Museum of Natural History

Elephant birds lived on Madagascar and were closely related to ratites - flightless birds such as the ostrich, emu, rhea, kiwi, and cassowary.

The kiwi is actually its closest relative.

The elephant bird weighed up to 1,600 pounds and stood 9.8 feet tall.

An egg was measured at 12 inches long, 28 inches in circumference, and weighed over 3 pounds.

Largest Fictitious Bird

At 8.5 feet tall, and a cross between an Ostrich, Crane, Canary, and a Harpy Eagle, the largest fictitious bird is, of course, Big Bird of Sesame Street. ;-)

What is the smallest bird in the world?

The Bee Hummingbird is the world's smallest bird.

The Bee Hummingbird is only 2.25 inches long, weighs less than 2 grams (a penny weighs 2.5 grams), laying eggs that are smaller than a jelly bean in a nest not bigger than a bottlecap.


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