Most of the birds we see in our daily lives are small, weighing just a few grams, with widely varying flying capabilities.
However, some bird species are shockingly enormous, reaching heights larger than the tallest humans even, bizarre right?
There are over ten thousand kinds of birds around the globe, and they come in a variety of forms and sizes.
However, in this article, I’ll take you through the largest ones, which are not only gigantic in size, but are notably the most gigantic ones to ever exist on planet earth, with some amazing capabilities and limitations.
Hence, without further ado, let’s get into the encyclopedia of the biggest birds in the world from all the existing aspects!
Biggest Birds In The World
The world’s largest living bird, the ostrich (Struthio camelus), weighs an average of 104 kg (229lb) and is 210 cm in length.
They have the largest eggs and the fastest land speed of any bird, reaching speeds of 70 kilometers per hour (43MPH).
Ostriches also have the largest eyes of any terrestrial animal, measuring 50 mm in diameter.
Ostriches are native to Africa, but they are raised all over the world for their feathers, skin for leather products, and meat. In 2014, the Somali ostrich was recognized as a distinct species.
Also known as the Snowy Albatross, the Wandering Albatross (Diomedea exulans) weighs around 11.9 kgs on average and is generally of the height of 135 cm.
Their wingspan is also one of the longest to ever exist, as wide as up to 3.5 meters!
These birds spend a major chunk of their lives invested in flying, hence being blessed with the privilege of surviving in the air without the need to flap their wings for several hours.
Emus (Dromaius novaehollandiae), endemic to Australia, is the world’s second-tallest living bird, reaching heights of 190 cm.
On average, they weigh around 33 kilograms (72.7lb). Female emus are frequently larger than males and have substantially wider rumps.
Emus have evolved to run rapidly, and despite their inability to fly, they have vestigial wings that they flap when running to keep themselves stable.
They have only three toes and a small number of bones and muscles in their feet. The only birds with gastrocnemius muscles on the back of their legs are emus.
Great Bustards (Otis tarda) are birds that belong natively to Spain and Portugal but prefer the open grasslands of Southern and Central Europe as appropriate for breeding.
These birds have a bodyweight of 10.6 kg (23lb) and are 115 cm tall.
The Great Kori Bustard (Ardeotis Kori) on the other hand is one of Africa’s largest flying birds and is also one of the heaviest existing birds that are capable of flying, with a weight of 11.4 kgs (25lb) and a height of 150 cm.
The southern cassowary (Casuarius Casuarius), also known as the double-wattled cassowary, Australian cassowary, or two-wattled cassowary, weighs 45 kg (99lb) and is approximately 155 cm long.
Southern cassowaries can be found in northern Australia, Indonesia, and New Guinea.
Northern cassowaries (Casuarius unappendiculatus), sometimes known as single-wattled cassowaries or golden-necked cassowaries, are much smaller, weighing 44 kg (97lb) and measuring 149 cm on average.
They can be found only in northern New Guinea.
When it comes to the heaviest waterfowls, Mute Swans (Cygnus olor) definitely top the list, with an average weight of 11.87 kgs (26lb) and a height of 100-130 cm.
Another variant is Trumpeter Swans with a bodyweight of 11.6 kg (26lb) and a height of around 165 cm.
However, the largest Swan to take flight is the Polish Swan cobs (Cygnus immutabilis), with a pure white body and pink legs, weighing around 23 kgs (50lb)!!
The Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus Crispus) is the principal representative of the participation of Pelicans in the list of the largest existing birds on the planet.
These are also the largest existing freshwater birds, with an average weight of 11.5 kgs (25lb) and height of 183 cm, immediately followed by Swans.
Their wingspan too can be as huge as that of Albatrosses, i.e. around 350 cm.
You can find these birds in lakes, rivers, and even estuaries in the South Eastern ends of Europe, along with Russia, China, and India.
Wild Turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) are believed to be the largest existing birds that are capable of flying so far, according to human knowledge.
And in spite of the fact that they are quite large in size, i.e. 124 cm tall and 13.5 kg (29lb) heavy, these birds are quite steady while in flight.
However, these birds are incapable of soaring high with their heavy bodies and neither can stay in the air for longer than 400 m of flight.
Surprisingly enough, both the domesticated Turkeys and the Wild Turkeys are the same species, native to North America.
However, in spite of belonging to the same species, the domesticated Turkeys are unable to fly due to their excess body weight mainly for no applicability of their breast muscles.
Greater Rheas (Rhea American) are birds, devoid of the capability of flying! These birds natively belong to the Southern Parts of America but can be found in some parts of Germany as well, also named Gray Rheas, Common Rheas, and American Rheas.
These birds are believed to survive chilly winters to start breeding, to survive into a population of 250 birds well-protected and domesticated species.
Their average mass ranges around 23 kgs (50lb) and they can be as tall as 134 cm!
Commonly referred to as the second-largest bird of prey, the Black Vulture, more commonly known as the Cinereous Vulture are scavenger in nature.
These birds can reach the maximum height of 3.9 feet, with a weight of around 14kgs (30lb) and large wingspans that can be as wide as 10 feet!!
Some other largest birds in their own species, broadly categorized under large birds are-
- Gyrfalcon (largest Falcon)
- Eurasian Eagle Owl (largest Owl)
- Greater Flamingo (largest Flamingo)
- Emperor Penguin (largest Penguin)
And lastly, the largest Bird ever:
Elephant Birds (Aepyornis) are the largest bird to ever exist in the history of Earth.
Traces of this bird was only limited to the boundaries of Madagascar and are believed to have attained extinction around 1000 years ago from now.
These birds were believed to be as tall as 9.8 feet and weighed as heavy as around 500 kgs (1102lb)!! Kiwis are believed to be a different variant of these giant birds.
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