The World's Largest Birds

The Eurasian eagle owl is the world's largest owl species.
The Eurasian eagle owl is the world's largest owl species.

Some of the largest bird to walk the surface of the earth are the Phorusrhacos and the Titanis; they lived around sixty-five million years ago and belonged to a group of birds that are unofficially referred to as “birds of terror." Archaeological excavates have revealed that the birds were extremely larger and had the ability to chase down their prey. The large birds we have today are incomparable to the birds of that generation, and the ostrich has reigned supreme as the largest bird.

14. Ostrich - largest living bird

Ostriches running on the African savannah.

The ostrich is the largest living bird that can reach heights of up to 6.9 ft and weigh as much as 346 pounds. It is a flightless bird that is known to reach a speed of up to 43 mph. The female ostrich lays the largest egg of any living bird. They are native to Africa where they are found in large numbers. They also inhabit parts of parts of Asia.

13. Victoria crowned pigeon - largest pigeon/dove

The Victoria crowned pigeon is not your average pigeon.

The Victoria crowned pigeon is the largest bird in the pigeon family. They are easily distinguished by a crest of lacy feathers on their heads that resembles a crown. They are considered very handsome pigeons. It is a blue-grey bird that can reach 30 inches’ length and weigh about 7.7 lb. They are known to make thunderous clapping sounds when they want to fly. They are native to the area surrounding New Guinea and are named so to commemorate Queen Victoria.

12. Trumpeter Swan - Largest Waterfowl

A trumpeter swan in flight.

The trumpeter swan is the largest waterfowl. It is native to North America and is the heaviest bird found in the same region. Their wing spans can be up to 10 ft., and they can grow to about 5 ft 5 in and weigh about 28 lb. In 1933, the birds were believed to be near extinct in North America, and less than 70 birds were known to exist. An aerial survey along the coast of Alaska revealed a large flock of these birds some of which were later reintroduced to other parts of the continent.

11. Eurasian black vulture - largest bird of prey

A Eurasian black vulture showing his wing span.

The Eurasian black vulture is the largest, and one of the heaviest birds of prey. The bird, sometimes referred to as the black vulture, is known to attain a height of 3 ft 11 in, and a wingspan of 10 ft 2 in, and can weigh as much as 31 lb. They are mostly found in Europe and the central Middle East.

10. Flightless Comorant - largest comorant

Two flightless comorants sit next to a marine iguana in the Galapagos Islands.

The flightless cormorant is the largest and the heaviest bird of the cormorant species. It is endemic to the Galapagos and is the only flightless bird in its species. However, the flightless cormorant is known to be a fantastic swimmer, and a large flock can be found along the coast of Isabela and Fernandina.

9. Philippine eagle - largest living eagle

A Philippine eagle.

The Philippine eagle is the largest eagle and one of the largest birds of prey. It was once referred to as the monkey-eating eagle because the native people of the Philippines claim that it once hunted monkeys. It can reach lengths of 3.35 ft and weigh as much as 17.6 lb.

8. Red-billed Tropicbird - largest tropicbird

The red-billed tropicbird is the largest tropicbird in the world.

The Red-billed Tropicbird is the largest tropicbird. It is common in the tropical Atlantic, the Indian Ocean's coastline, and the eastern Pacific. These birds can cruise at 100 ft above the sea and reach speeds of 27 mph. There are three species of the red-billed tropicbird; the nominate, the P. a. mesonauta, and the P. a. indicus.

7. Greater flamingo - largest flamingo

The greater flamingo is the world's largest.

The greater flamingo is the largest and the most widespread bird of the flamingo species. It inhabits southern Europe, the Indian subcontinent, and Africa. These birds can weigh up to 8.8 lb. The pink birds prefer warm regions and alkaline lakes with mudflats where they feed and breed.

6. Hyacinth macaw - largest parrot by length

The Hyacinth macaw is the world's largest parrot.

The Hyacinth macaw is the largest and perhaps the most stunning parrot. It is endemic to Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay. They can reach lengths of 3.3 ft and weigh up to 3.7 lb. The birds have blue feathers, but in some cases, the neck feathers tend to be slightly grayish in color. Their habitats have been destroyed, and a large number are kept as pets and have therefore been declared vulnerable by IUCN Red List.

5. Palm cockatoo - largest cockatoo

The palm cockatoo is the world's largest cockatoo species.

The Palm cockatoo is also referred to as the great Black or Goliath Cockatoo and is the largest cockatoo. It is native to the Aru Islands, Cape York Peninsula, and New Guinea. It has red cheeks and a large black beak. It is known to reach a length of about 24 inches and can weigh as much as 2.65 lb.

4. Emperor penguin - largest penguin

The emperor penguin is the world's largest penguin species.

The emperor penguin is the heaviest and the largest of the penguin species. They inhabit the Antarctic where they are also native. They can reach heights of 48 in and can weigh up to 99 lb. They have developed physiological adaptations including cooperative behaviors such as swarming in one place to survive the harsh temperature which can drop to -76°F.

3. Eurasian eagle-owl - most massive owl

A Eurasian eagle-owl in flight.

The Eurasian eagle-owl is the largest owl and the most widely distributed eagle-owl. It is mostly found in Eurasia and is referred to as the European eagle-owl in Europe. The females are larger than the males and can grow to 30 inches and a wingspan of 6 ft 2 inches. They are known to fly fast and strong with shallow wing beats.

2. Resplendent quetzal - largest trogon

The resplendent quetzal is the largest bird of the trogon species.

The resplendent quetzal is the largest bird of the trogon species. It is a beautiful bird that inhabits Central America’s tropical forests. Males have long trains unlike the female but have similar colors. Males can grow up to 26 inches including the tail and weigh up to 7.4 oz. The Resplendent Quetzal is the national flag of Guatemala.

1. Gyrfalcon - largest falcon

The gyrfalcon, the world's largest falcon species.

The Gyrfalcon is the world’s largest falcon. It is known to be the apex bird of prey in the Arctic. It moves at great speeds, chasing down its prey to exhaustion before using its talons to hold its prey and pin it to the ground. Males can grow to 24 inches long and weigh up to 2.976 lb.

The World's Largest Birds

RankBird NameScientic Name DesignationAverage Weight (Lbs)
1OstrichStruthio camelusLargest living bird346
2Victoria crowned pigeonGoura victoriaLargest pigeon/dove7.7
3Trumpeter SwanCygnus buccinatorLargest waterfowl 30
4Eurasian Black VultureAegypius monachusLargest bird of prey14
5Flightless ComorantPhalacrocorax harrisiLargest comorant11
6Philippine EaglePithecophaga jefferyiLargest living eagle18
7Red-billed TropicbirdPhaethon aethereusLargest tropicbird1
8Greater FlamingoPhoenicopterusLargest flamingo8.8
9Hyacinth MacawAnodorhynchus hyacinthinusLargest parrot by length3.7
10Palm CockatooProbosciger aterrimusLargest cockatoo2.65
11Emperor PenguinAptenodytes forsteriLargest penguin50
12Eurasian Eagle OwlBubo buboLargest Owl5.9
13Replendent QuetzalPharomachrus mocinnoLargest Trogon0.44
14Gryfalcon Falco rusticolusLargest Falcon0.004

More in Environment