A bird is distinguished mainly by three measures: its length, height and wingspan, that is, the length of its wings when they are outstretched. This top 10 of the largest birds in the world therefore presents 5 birds which are among the tallest in the world, followed by 5 birds which stand out for their exceptional size. To make this classification simpler, for each species, we specify the maximum measurements reached.
1 – African ostrich
The African ostrich is considered the biggest bird of the world. A male can indeed measure 2.80 meters height. And the maximum weight attributed to this bird is 150 kg.
Present in the African savannah, the ostrich is one of the forty or so species of birds unfit for flight identified today. It must be said that in addition to being the largest bird, she is also probably the largest bird. She belongs to a group named ratites, which also includes emus, rheas, cassowaries and kiwis. What characterizes them is the absence of a breast bone. This bony outgrowth, present in birds capable of flight, is a point of attachment of the muscles ensuring the flapping of the wings. In his absence, there is no possibility of stealing. On the other hand, the ostrich’s feathers are not placed in tight rows, another necessary condition for flying. They are also not waterproof. If the ostrich does not fly, it runs, and rather fast, because it can reach 70 km / h, with peaks at 90 km / h. She can also jump 1.50 meters in height and 4 meters in length.
2 – The Australian emu
With its almost 2 meters in height, the Australian emu is the second tallest bird in the world. However, it only weighs 40 to 50 kg when in the wild, and usually weighs 10 kg more in captivity. Also belonging to the ratite group, the emu cannot fly. Its particularity is to be the only still living species of the family of dromaiids, only present in Australia. Its legs have three toes, compared to two for the ostrich. It can run at 50 km / h with peaks at 70 km / h.
3 – The shoebill of the Nile
The shoebill can measure up to 1.60 meter for a weight of up to 6.5 kg. Its wingspan is also impressive as it can reach the 2.30 meters. It has a particular beak shape which gives it its name. Its clicks are reminiscent of the sound of a machine gun. This bill is adapted to its marshy environment, where the waters are murky, shallow and crowded with plants. It allows him to catch the fish and amphibians that make up his menus. He does not harpoon like herons do with their sharp beaks. The shoebill scoops the water. At the end of the upper part, a hook can be seen looming, which serves to keep the grips slippery. The edges are extremely sharp and are used for cutting the prey.
4 – The African marabout
The African marabout measures 1.50 meter tall but its wingspan is even more impressive than that of the shoebill of the Nile because it reaches the 10 foot. With its 9 kg, it is a fairly heavy bird. Therefore, it adopts gliding in hot air currents to gain altitude without getting tired.
The marabout is a scavenger, like the vulture. It is extremely useful for cleaning the nature of corpses. This is why its head and neck are plucked: it is the only way to be able to easily clean yourself after having sunk your head into the carcasses. Obviously, they are also found near landfills and slaughterhouses. However, it is able to hunt small preys if necessary. Many find this bird quite ugly, especially because of the goiter, long and soft, which hangs in front of its chest.
5 – the flamingo
It makes sense to find wading birds in this top 10 largest birds since these birds are characterized by long legs. The famous flamingo is of course present in this classification. Like its predecessor, it can measure up to 1.50 meter height. However, it does not weigh more than 4 kg. Its wingspan can reach 1.60 meters. They need momentum to be able to take off. The speed they reach by their powerful and regular wing beats is 60 km / h.
6 – The Wandering Albatross
It is the wandering albatross that opens this second half of the ranking, devoted to the birds with the largest span in the world. His can reach the 3.50 meters : This now undisputed champion of the category was only third when the pelagornis and the magnificent Argentinian still existed. These two bird species are unfortunately extinct. The weight of the albatross can reach 12 kilos. It uses the airfoil represented by its outstretched wings to glide, showing itself capable of using winds of up to 160 km / h and more. Its characteristic is to have tendons which block the joints of its wings: they are thus kept effortlessly in the open position. This is why the albatross is a glider exceptional: an albatross could thus have traveled 6000 km in 12 days.
7 – The Andean condor
The Andean condor is the largest of the raptors, as well as the largest land flying bird. Its scope can reach 3,20 meters. It can weigh up to 15 kg. As it lives between 3000 to 5000 m altitude (in the Andes Cordillera and along the Pacific coast), it is difficult to observe. Thanks to updrafts, it can reach 6000 meters, becoming invisible to the naked eye. As a result, the pre-Columbian peoples made him an intercessor between earth and sky. Its maximum speed is 100 km / h. It is a scavenger that feeds on the carcasses of large animals such as deer, cattle or camelids.
8 – The white pelican
The wingspan of the white pelican can reach 2.80 meters. Its weight can reach 15 kg. It is possibly the heaviest bird capable of flight. The pocket under its beak is known to behave like a dip net when the bird is fishing. It is also a real pantry, accommodating up to 4 kg of fish. This represents a volume of 13 liters in an adult. The filled pouch then almost touches the ground. It is less known that this pocket ensures the regulation of the body temperature in the event of strong heat.
9 – Griffon vulture
The wingspan of the griffon vulture can reach 2.70 meters, for a weight of 11.5 kg. These proportions are associated with the same behavior as the African marabout: it uses thermal updrafts to gain altitude. It can travel 300 to 400 km per day in favorable weather conditions, in search of food, that is to say carcasses of large animals.
10 – the mute swan
The size of this animal, well known to our French water points, reaches 2.40 meters. It can weigh up to 13 kg. If you have had the opportunity to observe it in flight, you will have noticed that it was not very discreet: each wing flap is accompanied by a fairly loud noise. Scientists found that this noise replaced the audible call cry in other species. Because of its weight, its flight is quite laborious. Its flight speed reaches an average of 85 km / h.