There are birds, and there are the largest birds that roam the earth. If you have seen a bird as tall as you, and you wonder if there are others like it or even bigger; then you just might be right.
The largest birds in the world are often defensive, and you never want to run into any of them in the wild or after zoo hours.
Meet a few of the biggest and largest birds in the world with attitude. Here’s a list from 1 to 10 starring flightless giants and modern-day pterodactyls.
Table of Contents
- 1. The Ostrich
- 2. Southern Cassowary
- 3. Emu
- 4. Greater Rhea
- 5. Dalmatian Pelican
- 6. Mute Swan
- 7. Andean Condor
- 8. Cinereous Vulture
- 9. Marabou Stork
- 10. Shoebill
1. The Ostrich
Everyone knows that the largest feathered bird in the world is the ostrich, having an average weight of 230 pounds and standing as tall as 7 feet (and some of them can grow up as tall as 9 feet).
They are aggressive giants as they can also chase you down if provoked. Ostriches are also known to be the fastest two-legged species on earth, with a top speed of around 43 mph.
These birds can maintain a 30 mph pace for up to 10 miles, making them the undefeated marathon champions of the avian world.
2. Southern Cassowary
Often tagged as the most dangerous bird on the planet, in addition to being one of the largest birds in the world, the southern cassowary is about 150 pounds of mean.
Gracing each foot is a claw of 5-inch that cassowaries use as a weapon to defend themselves. No less than two people have been kicked to death by these forces birds, the most recent being a man from Florida who knowingly kept one of these birds as a pet.
Like a smaller, but shaggier ostrich, the Emu is a 5 to 6-foot bird known as one of the largest birds on the planet (as well as a goofy and impressive spokes bird for insurance).
When it’s the breeding season, the female emus will fight enthusiastically over the available unattached males.
However, the results of this mating ritual are quite impressive: beautiful clutches of forest-green, oval-shaped eggs that look like giant avocados.
4. Greater Rhea
This is a flightless bird named for the beautiful Titan goddess Rhea, who is believed to have given birth to all of the Olympian goddesses and gods in Greek mythology.
At up to 5 feet tall and 66 pounds, the greater rhea may not seem like as much of a terror as the ostrich. But it gathers in massive flocks of up to 100 birds during the non-breeding season, so watch out if you happen to be in its South American habitat.
5. Dalmatian Pelican
Pelicans are cute, but just how scary can that be? When a bird stands almost 6 feet tall, carries a weight of up to 33 pounds, and boasts of a wingspan of 9 feet— you can agree that all traits of the Dalmatian pelican make it pretty petrifying.
These monsters who are scruffy-feathered are native to Asia and Europe, and also breed in colonies of as many as 250 pairs. They are big foodies as they can gulp a shocking mouthful of fish in one swallow.
6. Mute Swan
The mute swan is one of the largest and heaviest birds that fly in the skies. mute swans are so cute and look harmless as they glide over lakes, rivers, and ponds.
But don’t be fooled as mute swans are far from being silent birds when it comes to defending their territory and families. Male swans are known to warn interlopers when they’re getting too close with a loud hiss.
After the warning, they can then launch a straight-up assault, which will see them bashing the intruder with their large wings. They’ll even go as far as attacking canoeists, kayakers, and random people who are just minding their business.
7. Andean Condor
This is a freakishly large vulture that isn’t satisfied with any random carrion —it prefers large carcasses like deer and cattle for dinner. Maintaining its average body weight of 25 pounds demands a lot of calories.
Its wingspan is slightly shorter than that of its northern cousin, known as the California condor. However, it still gets to a crazy wide 9 to 10 feet; and one of the biggest and largest birds in the world.
8. Cinereous Vulture
Another largest bird in the world that comes with a 10-foot wingspan is the Cinereous Vulture. This vulture from the old world comes with excellent vision to notice carrion while it flies high up, and a bald featherless head that fights against the accumulation of gore when it eats.
Though it is quite intimidating and ugly to look at, the cinereous vulture is known to play an essential role in its ecosystem as it cleans up roadkills and other lifeless animals.
9. Marabou Stork
As if the red-tinged wattle, dagger-esque bill, and black back weren’t alarming enough, the bold marabou stork is often known as the “undertaker bird” thanks to its Dracula-like look. It is also known to eat other birds.
So far, the largest verified wingspan on any marabou stork measured as massive 10.5 feet. However, some unverified reports claim a specimen with a vast 13.3-foot span.
Shoebill storks may be cute in cartoons and may also not be the world’s heaviest, tallest, or widest-winged birds, but they sure are one of the biggest and largest birds in the world with scary looks.
On top of having a wide and flat nutcracker for a face, the shoebill with its 5-foot-tall self leads a very fearsome lifestyle.
The shoebill stands absolutely still for many hours to hunt its prey. It watches for baby crocodiles or lungfish, then spreads its broad wings and collapses over the victim while trapping the target in its big flat bill.