What Is The Biggest Bird In The World In 2023? (And How To See It)

What Is The Biggest Bird In The World In 2023

If you are a bird lover, you might have wondered what is the biggest bird in the world. Is it the ostrich, the albatross, or the elephant bird? The answer depends on how you measure the size of a bird. In this blog post, we will explore the different ways to define the biggest bird, and reveal the top 10 biggest birds on Earth. We will also share some tips on how to see these amazing creatures in their natural habitats.

How To Measure The Size Of A Bird

There are many ways to measure the size of a bird, such as:

  • Height: The distance from the ground to the top of the head when standing upright.
  • Weight: The mass of the body when measured on a scale.
  • Wingspan: The distance from the tip of one wing to the tip of the other when fully extended.
  • Length: The distance from the tip of the beak to the tip of the tail when measured along the body.

Each of these measurements has its advantages and disadvantages, and none of them can capture the full complexity of a bird’s shape and structure. For example, some birds have long necks and legs, which make them taller, but not necessarily heavier or longer. Some birds have broad wings, which make them wider, but not necessarily longer or heavier. Some birds have fluffy feathers, which make them look bigger, but not necessarily heavier or longer.

Therefore, there is no definitive answer to the question of what is the biggest bird in the world. It depends on which measurement you choose, and how you compare different species. However, for the sake of simplicity, we will use the most common and widely accepted measurements of height and weight to rank the biggest birds on Earth.

The Top 10 Biggest Birds On Earth

Using the criteria of height and weight, here are the top 10 biggest birds on Earth, according to Live Science:

  1. Ostrich (Struthio camelus):
Ostrich male RWD

The ostrich is the undisputed champion of the biggest birds. It is the tallest and heaviest of all living birds, with an average height of over 2 meters (sometimes as tall as 2.8 meters) and a weight of up to 160 kg. It is also the fastest of all birds, capable of running at speeds of up to 70 km/h. The ostrich lives in the savannas and deserts of Africa and Arabia, where it feeds on plants, seeds, insects, and small animals. It is a flightless bird, but it uses its powerful legs and wings to defend itself from predators. The ostrich is also known for its large eggs, which are the biggest of any bird, averaging 1.4 kg.

2. Somali ostrich (Struthio molybdophanes):

Struthio molybdophanes 1

The Somali ostrich is a close relative of the common ostrich, but slightly smaller and lighter. It has a height of up to 2.7 meters and a weight of up to 130 kg. It is also a flightless bird that lives in the dry regions of eastern Africa, where it feeds on similar foods as the common ostrich. It has a distinctive blue neck and legs, and a reddish-brown plumage. The Somali ostrich is considered a separate species from the common ostrich, but some experts regard it as a subspecies.

3. Wandering albatross (Diomedea exulans):

Diomedea exulans - SE Tasmania

The wandering albatross is the biggest bird by wingspan, which can reach up to 3.7 meters. It is also one of the heaviest flying birds, with a weight of up to 12 kg. It is a sea bird that spends most of its life soaring over the oceans, covering thousands of kilometers in search of food. It feeds on fish, squid, and crustaceans, which it catches from the surface of the water or by diving. It breeds on remote islands in the Southern Hemisphere, where it forms long-lasting pairs and raises one chick every two years. The wandering albatross is endangered due to threats from fishing, pollution, and climate change.

4. Southern cassowary (Casuarius casuarius):

Casuarius casuarius @ KL

The southern cassowary is the heaviest of all living rainforest birds, with a weight of up to 85 kg. It is also one of the tallest, with a height of up to 1.8 meters. It is a flightless bird that lives in the tropical forests of New Guinea, Australia and nearby islands, where it feeds on fruits, seeds, fungi and small animals.

It has a distinctive appearance, with a black plumage, a blue neck, a red wattle, and a horn-like crest on its head. It is a shy and solitary bird, but it can be very aggressive when threatened, using its powerful legs and sharp claws to kick and injure predators or humans. The southern cassowary is vulnerable due to habitat loss, hunting, and road accidents.

5. Emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri):

Emperor penguin and icebreaker

The emperor penguin is the tallest and heaviest of all living penguins, with a height of up to 1.3 meters and a weight of up to 45 kg. It is also the only penguin that breeds during the Antarctic winter, enduring temperatures of up to -60°C and winds of up to 200 km/h. It feeds on fish, squid, and krill, which it catches by diving to depths of up to 500 meters. It breeds on the sea ice, where it forms large colonies and takes turns to incubate the single egg and care for the chick. The emperor penguin is threatened by climate change, which reduces the extent and stability of the sea ice.

6. Andean condor (Vultur gryphus):

Vultur gryphus 183832416

The Andean condor is the largest flying bird by combined measurement of weight and wingspan. It has a wingspan of up to 3.3 meters and a weight of up to 15 kg. It is a scavenger that feeds on the carcasses of large animals, such as deer, cattle, and llamas. It lives in the Andes mountains of South America, where it flies at altitudes of up to 6,000 meters. It breeds on rocky cliffs, where it lays one egg every two years and raises the chick for up to two years. The Andean condor is near threatened due to habitat loss, poisoning, and hunting.

7. Dalmatian pelican (Pelecanus crispus):

Captive Dalmatian Pelican. Pelecanus crispus (44691755381)

The Dalmatian pelican is the largest of all living pelicans, and one of the heaviest flying birds. It has a wingspan of up to 3.2 meters and a weight of up to 15 kg. It is a waterbird that feeds on fish, which it catches by plunging its large bill into the water and scooping up its prey. It lives in wetlands and lakes of Europe and Asia, where it forms large flocks and breeds in colonies. It has a white plumage, a curly crest, and a pink pouch. The Dalmatian pelican is vulnerable due to habitat loss, disturbance, and overfishing.

8. Greater rhea (Rhea americana):

Rhea americana, Las Lajites, Argentina

The greater rhea is the largest of all living ratites, a group of flightless birds that includes the ostrich, the cassowary, and the emu. It has a height of up to 1.7 meters and a weight of up to 40 kg. It is a grassland bird that lives in South America, where it feeds on plants, seeds, insects, and small animals. It has a brown and white plumage, a long neck, and long legs. It is a polygamous bird, with one male mating with several females and incubating their eggs in a large nest. The greater rhea is near threatened due to habitat loss, hunting, and predation.

9. Kori bustard (Ardeotis kori):

Kori Bustard (Ardeotis kori) (Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania, 2007)

The kori bustard is the heaviest flying bird native to Africa, where it feeds on seeds, insects, lizards, and snakes. It has a height of up to 1.5 meters and a weight of up to 19 kg. It is a flying bird, but it prefers to walk or run on the ground. It has a gray and brown plumage, a black crest, and a white neck. It is a solitary bird, but it forms leks during the breeding season, where the males display their inflated necks and tails to attract the females. The kori bustard is near threatened due to habitat loss, hunting, and collision with power lines.

10. Mute swan (Cygnus olor):

Mute swan flying

The mute swan is the largest of all living waterfowl, and one of the most elegant and graceful birds. It has a wingspan of up to 2.4 meters and a weight of up to 12 kg. It is a freshwater bird that lives in lakes, rivers, and ponds of Europe and Asia, where it feeds on aquatic plants, insects, and small fish. It has a white plumage, a long neck, and an orange bill with a black knob. It is a monogamous bird, with one pair forming a lifelong bond and raising several cygnets every year. The mute swan is least concern, but it faces threats from habitat loss, pollution, and human disturbance.

How To See The Biggest Birds In The World

If you are interested in seeing the biggest birds in the world, you might need to travel to some remote and exotic places. However, the experience will be worth it, as you will witness some of the most amazing and diverse creatures on the planet. Here are some tips on how to see the biggest birds in the world:

  1. Ostrich and Somali ostrich: You can see these birds in many zoos and wildlife parks around the world, but if you want to see them in the wild, you will need to visit Africa or Arabia. You can join a safari tour or hire a local guide to take you to the best spots to see these birds. Be careful not to approach them too closely, as they can be very aggressive and dangerous.
  2. Wandering albatross: You can see this bird in some zoos and aquariums around the world, but if you want to see it in the wild, you will need to visit the Southern Ocean. You can join a cruise or a charter boat that will take you to the islands where these birds breed, such as South Georgia, the Falkland Islands, or the Crozet Islands. You can also see them flying over the water, but you will need a good pair of binoculars or a camera to appreciate their size and beauty.
  3. Southern cassowary: You can see this bird in some zoos and wildlife parks around the world, but if you want to see it in the wild, you will need to visit the tropical forests of New Guinea, Australia, or nearby islands. You can join a guided tour or explore the national parks and reserves where these birds live, such as the Daintree Rainforest, the Wet Tropics, or the Cape York Peninsula. Be careful not to disturb them or provoke them, as they can be very aggressive and dangerous.
  4. Emperor penguin: You can see this bird in some zoos and aquariums around the world, but if you want to see it in the wild, you will need to visit Antarctica. You can join a cruise or a flight that will take you to the coast of Antarctica, where these birds breed on the sea ice. You can also see them swimming in the water, but you will need a good pair of binoculars or a camera to appreciate their size and beauty. Be careful not to disturb them or harm their environment, as they are very sensitive and endangered.
  5. Andean condor: You can see this bird in some zoos and wildlife parks around the world, but if you want to see it in the wild, you will need to visit the Andes mountains of South America. You can join a guided tour or hike the trails and roads where these birds soar, such as the Colca Canyon, the Cotopaxi National Park, or the Torres del Paine National Park. You can also see them perching on the cliffs, but you will need a good pair of binoculars or a camera to appreciate their size and beauty. Be careful not to disturb them or harm their habitat, as they are very rare and threatened.
  6. Dalmatian pelican: You can see this bird in some zoos and wildlife parks around the world, but if you want to see it in the wild, you will need to visit the wetlands and lakes of Europe and Asia. You can join a guided tour or visit the nature reserves and sanctuaries where these birds live, such as the Lake Skadar, the Prespa Lakes, or the Danube Delta. You can also see them flying in the sky, but you will need a good pair of binoculars or a camera to appreciate their size and beauty. Be careful not to disturb them or harm their habitat, as they are very vulnerable and endangered.
  7. Greater rhea: You can see this bird in some zoos and wildlife parks around the world, but if you want to see it in the wild, you will need to visit the grasslands of South America. You can join a guided tour or visit the national parks and ranches where these birds live, such as the Pantanal, the Ibera Wetlands, or the Pampas. You can also see them running on the ground, but you will need a good pair of binoculars or a camera to appreciate their size and beauty. Be careful not to disturb them or harm their habitat, as they are very near threatened and hunted.
  8. Kori bustard: You can see this bird in some zoos and wildlife parks around the world, but if you want to see it in the wild, you will need to visit Africa. You can join a safari tour or hire a local guide to take you to the best spots to see these birds. You can also see them flying in the sky, but you will need a good pair of binoculars or a camera to appreciate their size and beauty. Be careful not to disturb them or harm their habitat, as they are very near threatened and hunted.
  9. Mute swan: You can see this bird in many places around the world, as it has been introduced to many countries and regions. However, if you want to see it in its native range, you will need to visit Europe and Asia. You can join a guided tour or visit the lakes, rivers, and ponds where these birds live, such as the Lake Geneva, the River Thames, or the Lake Baikal. You can also see them swimming in the water, but you will need a good pair of binoculars or a camera to appreciate their size and beauty. Be careful not to disturb them or harm their habitat, as they are very territorial and aggressive.

FAQs

1. What is the biggest bird in the world?

The ostrich (Struthio camelus) holds the title of the world’s biggest bird. Known for its incredible size and unique features, the ostrich is native to Africa and is characterized by its long legs and neck.

2. What are the characteristics of the ostrich?

Ostriches are characterized by their large size, long legs, and necks. They have two-toed feet adapted for running at high speeds. Ostriches also have distinctive feathers and are known for their powerful kicks, which are a formidable defense mechanism.

3. Where does the ostrich live?

Ostriches are native to Africa and can be found in various habitats such as savannas, grasslands, and deserts. They are well-adapted to diverse environments, including both arid and more lush regions.

4. Can ostriches fly?

No, ostriches are flightless birds. Despite their large wings, they are built for running rather than flying. Their powerful legs enable them to reach speeds of up to 45 miles per hour, making them the fastest-running bird.

5. What is the wingspan of the largest bird?

While ostriches have wings, their wingspan is not as relevant as in flying birds. Ostrich wingspans typically range from 6 to 9 feet. Despite being flightless, their wings serve other purposes, such as balance and courtship displays.

6. What do ostriches eat?

Ostriches are omnivores with a diet that includes plants, roots, and seeds. They are also known to consume insects and small animals. Ostriches are adapted to foraging in a variety of environments, using their keen eyesight to locate food.

7. How do ostriches reproduce?

Ostriches reproduce through a process involving the formation of communal nests. Multiple females may lay their eggs in a single nest, with one dominant female incubating them during the day, and the male taking over at night. The incubation period is around 42 days.

8. Where can ostriches be found in the wild?

Ostriches inhabit various regions across Africa, including countries such as South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, and Kenya. Their adaptability allows them to thrive in different ecosystems.

9. Are ostriches endangered?

As of the latest available data, ostriches are not considered endangered. However, specific populations may face threats due to habitat loss, hunting, or other factors. Conservation efforts aim to ensure the well-being of ostrich populations.

10. How fast can ostriches run?

Ostriches are renowned for their remarkable running speed. They can reach speeds of up to 45 miles per hour, making them the fastest land birds. Their strong legs and powerful strides contribute to their impressive running abilities.

We hope you enjoyed this blog post about the biggest birds in the world. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. And if you want to learn more about birds and other animals, please visit our website and subscribe to our newsletter. Thank you for reading!