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Top 10 Largest Birds In The World

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Every day, we come into contact with a wide variety of birds, many of which are extremely small, rarely exceeding a few grams in weight. Some bird species, however, grow to impressive proportions and can tower over even the tallest humans.

Most of the world’s largest birds are ground-dwellers, giving them the opportunity to develop heavier, denser bones. They’ve developed powerful leg muscles that allow them to run at high speeds, another adaptation that’s helped them avoid predation.

However, the elephant birds, which belonged to a now-extinct family of ratites, were much larger than any living bird. The largest of these, the Vorombe titan, was the largest bird that has ever lived. It was over 700 kg in weight and stood about 3 m in height.

You may also want to read about the top 8 apex predators.

The top 10 largest birds:

  • 1. Albatrosses

The snowy albatross, white-winged albatross, and goonie are all names for the same bird, the wandering albatross (Diomedea exulans). It can reach a maximum length of 135 centimeters and a weight of 11.9 kilograms. With a wing span of 2.5–3.5 meters (unconfirmed reports put the largest at 4.22 and 5.3 meters), it is the largest avian species currently in existence.

The wandering albatross spends the vast majority of its life in the air and can glide effortlessly for hours on end. Some wandering albatrosses have been documented making three complete circuits of the Southern Ocean in a single year, giving them one of the longest ranges of any bird.

Albatrosses are one of the largest birds.
  • 2. Pelicans

Only swans are larger than the Dalmatian pelican (Pelecanus crispus) in terms of length and weight, but it is the largest member of the pelican family. They are typically 183 centimeters in length and weigh 11.5 kilograms. With a wingspan comparable to that of the great albatrosses, it is one of only four bird species with a confirmed wingspan of over 350 cm, the others being the wandering albatross, the southern royal albatross, and the great white pelican.

Dalmatian pelicans can be seen in the waters of southeast Europe, Russia, India, and China’s estuaries and lakes. Most likely, habitat loss due to drainage of wetlands contributed significantly to a precipitous decline in population size throughout the 20th century.

  • 3. Swans

The Polish mute swan cob (Cygnus immutabilis) was officially confirmed as the heaviest bird ever to fly, weighing in at 23 kilograms. This morph of the mute swan has pure white plumage and pink legs instead of the typical black.

In terms of weight, Cygnus olor (mute swans) are the heaviest of all waterfowl at an average of 11.87 kilograms. A typical length is between 100 and 130 cm. While trumpeter swans are shorter (138-165 cm), they are lighter (11.6 kg).

Swans are one of the largest birds.
  • 4. Bustards

The (Otis tarda) can grow to be 115 centimeters in length and weighs 10.6 kilograms on average. Approximately 60% of the world’s population lives in Spain and Portugal, where they have access to suitable breeding habitat in open grassland. After being hunted to extinction in the 1830s, the Great Bustard was reintroduced and is now successfully breeding on Salisbury Plain.

The Kori bustard (Ardeotis kori) is Africa’s largest flying bird, weighing an average of 11.4 kg, and measuring 150 cm in length, making it a strong contender for the title of heaviest flying living bird.

  • 5. Turkeys

When it comes to flying birds, the wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) takes the cake as the largest species. They have an average length of 124 cm and a weight of 13.5 kg. Though large, they are surprisingly nimble in the air, rarely venturing more than 400 meters from the ground at a time.

Both wild and domesticated turkeys belong to the same species. Despite being an indigenous North American species, the name “turkey” was given to them by Europeans who mistook the domesticated turkey for a native North American species that Turkish traders had brought to Europe. Because of their excessive body fat, domestic turkeys are unable to fly, and their breast meat is white rather than dark and gamey tasting like that of wild turkeys because they don’t use those muscles.

  • 6. Penguins

The emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri) is the largest and heaviest of the living penguin species at an average of 31.5 kilograms (kg) and 114 centimeters (cm) in height. Male Emperor Penguins can lose up to 15 kilograms (33 pounds) by not eating for over 2 months during the breeding season. This is done to protect their eggs from the extreme cold. Although they cannot fly, Emperor penguins have learned to survive in the world’s coldest climate for breeding birds. They can regulate their body temperature centrally without changing their metabolisms thanks to the insulation provided by their feathers, which can account for up to 90% of the total.

The average king penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) measures 92 cm in length and weighs 13.6 kg. Their breeding grounds include the subantarctic islands of Tierra del Fuego, the Falkland Islands, and the South Sandwich Islands.

Penguins are the largest birds in of Antarctica.
  • 7. Rheas

South American is home to the flightless greater rhea (Rhea americana). Grey rheas, common rheas, and American rheas are all names that refer to this bird. The typical greater rhea is 134 cm in length and weighs 23 kg. Germany is now home to a small but stable population of greater rheas. In August of 2000, six guinea pigs, one male and five females, escaped from a farm. They made it through the cold season and have already started having babies. The roughly 250 birds now in the area are all considered domestic and are therefore safe from hunting.

The lesser rhea, or Rhea pennata, is a bird native to the highlands of Altiplano and the southern regions of Patagonia in South America. It has an average length of 96 cm and a weight of 13.5 kg.

  • 8. Cassowaries

The average southern cassowary (Casuarius casuarius) weighs 45 kg and measures about 155 cm in length. It is also known as the double-wattled cassowary, Australian cassowary, or two-wattled cassowary. Northern Australia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea are all home to southern cassowaries.

The northern cassowary (Casuarius unappendiculatus), also called the single (one)-wattled cassowary or golden-necked cassowary, is slightly smaller than its southern counterpart, measuring an average of 44 kg and 149 cm in length. In other words, you can only find these animals in northern New Guinea.

Cassowaries are one of the largest birds in the world.
  • 9. Emus

The emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae), a bird species endemic to Australia, is the world’s second-tallest living bird at up to 190 centimeters (75 inches). An average of 33 kilograms per individual. Female emus are typically larger than males, and their rumps are noticeably wider.

Although emus cannot fly, they use their vestigial wings to maintain their balance as they speed along. They have fewer bones and muscles in their feet and only three toes. Only emus have a muscle called the gastrocnemius in the back of their lower legs.

  • 10. Ostriches

Average ostriches (Struthio camelus) weigh 104 kg and measure 210 cm in length, making them the largest living bird species. They also have the record for the fastest land speed of any bird, at 70 kph, and produce the largest eggs of any bird. It’s also been hypothesized that, at 50 mm in diameter, an ostrich’s eyes are the largest of any land vertebrate.

Although they originated in Africa, ostriches are now farmed all over the world for various reasons, including their feathers, skin (which is used to make leather), and meat. The Somali ostrich, or Struthio molybdophanes, gained official species status in 2014.

largest birds
Ostriches are the largest birds in the world.