What comes to mind when you think of the largest wingspan bird? The bald eagle, perhaps, or the condor. But there are many other birds with impressively large wingspans out there, and some of them are quite surprising.
In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the biggest wingspan birds in the world, as well as their unique characteristics and habits. So read on to learn more about these impressive creatures!
What Is Wingspan?
Wingspan is the distance from the tip of one wing to the tip of the other wing. The average adult bald eagle has a wingspan of about 2.3 meters (7.5 feet). The largest wingspan on record belonged to an albatross, which measured more than 3.7 meters (12 feet) across! Wingspan is an important factor in a bird’s ability to fly; the larger the wingspan, the greater the lift and the easier it is to stay in the air.
Birds with shorter wingspans typically have to flap their wings more rapidly to stay airborne. In addition to size, wing shape also plays a role in flight.
Some birds, like vultures and albatrosses, have long, narrow wings that are well-suited for gliding. Other birds, like hummingbirds and woodpeckers, have short, stubby wings that are better suited for quick bursts of flapping flight. No matter what their shape or size, all bird’s wings have one thing in common: they’re covered in feathers!
10 birds with the largest wingspan
1. Ostrich (Struthio camelus).
The ostrich (Struthio camelus) is a large flightless bird that is native to Africa. The ostrich is the largest living bird by height and weight, and it also has the largest wingspan of any living bird. Although the ostrich cannot fly, it is an excellent runner, and it can reach speeds of up to 60 kilometers per hour (40 miles per hour).
The ostrich is also notable for its long neck and legs, which give it a distinctive appearance. The ostrich is a herbivore, and its diet consists mainly of leaves, seeds, and fruits. The ostrich is found in open habitats such as savannas and deserts.
The bird usually lays two to eight eggs in a nest that is built on the ground. The ostrich is hunted for its meat and feathers. The bird is also used for racing and entertainment purposes.
2. Black Vulture.
The Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus) is a large bird of prey that has an impressive wingspan reaching up to 6.2 ft (1.9 m). It is one of the largest birds in North America and can be seen soaring through the sky with its long black wings spread wide.
The Black Vulture is an opportunistic feeder and will scavenge for food, but it can also take down small animals. It has some unique adaptations that make it well-suited for life in the air, such as its curved wings which allow it to glide effortlessly and save energy.
The Black Vulture is found in many parts of North America, from southern Canada to central Mexico, and can often be seen soaring in large flocks.
3. Andean Condor.
The Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus) is a majestic and awe-inspiring bird of prey with an impressive wingspan reaching up to 10 feet (3 meters). It is the largest flying bird in the world and is found in the mountainous regions of South America.
The Andean Condor has a unique, black-and-white feathered plumage, which makes it instantly recognizable. It is an apex predator, feeding mainly on carrion but also taking down small animals such as rabbits and lambs. Its majestic wingspan allows it to soar for hours, riding the thermals and searching for food.
The Andean Condor is a powerful symbol in South American culture and is seen as a sign of strength, power, and freedom.
4. Wandering Albatross
The Wandering Albatross (Diomedea exulans) has an impressive wingspan of up to 11 ft (3.4 m), making it one of the largest birds on the planet. These seabirds are found in open oceans around the world and spend most of their lives soaring through the air, searching for food.
They have a unique adaptation that helps them to glide effortlessly across long distances, allowing them to cover vast amounts of the ocean in search of food.
The Wandering Albatross has a black-and-white feather pattern and its wingspan is so impressive that it can be seen from miles away. It is an iconic symbol of the open ocean and is often featured in stories, poetry, and artworks.
5. Cassowary (Casuarius casuarius)
The Southern Cassowary, native to New Guinea and Northeastern Australia, is the third largest living bird species in the world by wingspan. It has an impressive wingspan of up to 2.5 metres with a total body length of up to 1.8 metres.
The cassowary has some very interesting features, such as its powerful legs and feet, its bright yellow wattles (the fleshy protuberances on their heads), and its long neck. The colour of the Cassowary’s feathers vary between black, gray and brown.
The Southern Cassowary is a solitary bird that lives in tropical rainforests and is an omnivore, which means it feeds on both plants and animals. It eats a variety of fruits, seeds, insects, small mammals, reptiles, frogs and even carrion (the flesh of dead animals).
The Cassowary has been known to hunt larger prey such as pigs and even humans.
On average, the female Cassowary is larger than the male, and they are usually shy and difficult to approach. They can become aggressive when startled or threatened, and have been known to attack humans if they feel cornered or provoked.
During breeding season, the female will lay up to five eggs and then incubate them for around 50 days. The male will take care of the chicks until they reach adulthood.
6. Dalmatian Pelican
The Dalmatian Pelican is the species of pelican with the largest wingspan. It measures up to 11.2 feet (342 cm) from tip to tip! This majestic bird can be found on large, freshwater lakes and wetlands in parts of southeastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East.
Dalmatian Pelicans weigh up to 33 lbs (15 kg). They are mostly white with a yellowish-tan head and neck. They have a long, curved bill and webbed feet for swimming.
These majestic birds feed on fish, frogs, and crustaceans that they catch from the water. They can even dive down to 10 meters (33 feet) deep to get their food.
When they are not feeding, they can be seen soaring high in the sky. They have powerful wings that enable them to migrate across large distances and make a low-frequency sound when flying over long distances.
Dalmatian Pelicans are considered threatened due to habitat destruction from wetland drainage, pollution, and hunting. The population has declined by about 30% in the last decade. Conservation efforts are underway to protect this species from extinction.
The Dalmatian Pelican is an amazing creature with a wingspan that is truly remarkable. Its long history as a majestic bird of flight make it awe-inspiring to watch and admire in the wild. Let’s do our part to protect this species so that future generations can appreciate its beauty and splendor.
7. Harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja)
The Harpy Eagle, with its wingspan of nearly 7 ½ feet (2.3 m), is arguably the most powerful bird of prey in the world. This massive eagle has a unique pattern of dark feathers that give it a distinct appearance. Its long tail and thickly feathered legs help distinguish this species from other eagles.
Habitat wise, the Harpy Eagle is found in the jungles of Central and South America. It prefers to live close to rivers and other bodies of water, which are ideal sources of food for these predators.
The Harpy Eagle mainly feeds on medium-sized animals such as sloths, monkeys, opossums, porcupines, and snakes. It will also scavenge for carrion and sometimes hunt birds. To capture its prey, the Harpy Eagle swoops down from a high perch with powerful strokes of its wings to snatch them up in its talons.
The female Harpy Eagle is larger than the male, weighing up to 20 pounds (9 kg). Both sexes have a black beak and yellow eyes. The plumage of the Harpy Eagle is overall dark grey to brown, but it has a white head, neck, and upper breast. Juveniles are much less distinct in coloration than adults.
The Harpy Eagle does not migrate and can live for up to 30 years in the wild. Though it is listed as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List, its population is decreasing due to deforestation and loss of habitat. Conservation efforts are underway to protect this majestic species from further decline.
8. Bearded Vulture
The Bearded Vulture or Lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus) is an Old World vulture and the only member of its family. It is the only known animal whose diet consists almost exclusively of bone, with some reports suggesting that it may consume up to 95% of its meal from bones. This makes it one of the largest scavengers of bones in the world.
The adult Bearded Vulture has a wingspan of up to 8 feet and can reach an impressive height of between 3 – 4 feet when standing on its hind legs. Its powerful beak is well adapted for tearing through bone, and its feathers are dark brown with white tips. The Bearded Vulture’s legs are relatively short, which helps to make it more agile and better adapted for finding food on the mountainside.
The Bearded Vulture can be found in a variety of habitats in Europe, Africa, and Asia. It usually prefers mountainous regions at 3,000 – 4,000 meters above sea level. In these regions, the Bearded Vulture can often be seen soaring on the thermals that rise from the sun-baked cliffs.
When hunting for food, this vulture will often scavenge through bones left behind by other animals, such as wolves and foxes. It will also hunt for small mammals like marmots and hares. The Bearded Vulture is a solitary bird, and it rarely forms strong social bonds with other members of its species.
The Bearded Vulture has an extremely long lifespan in the wild, with some specimens known to have lived up to 35 years. This impressive longevity means that this vulture is one of the few species that can be found in the wild with a wingspan of 8 feet or more.
This large wingspan gives the Bearded Vulture an advantage when it comes to soaring above its prey, allowing it to spot potential meals from much further away than other scavenging birds. It is also able to use this large wingspan to perform impressive feats of aerial acrobatics, swooping up and down and gliding on the thermals in a mesmerizing spectacle.
9. Dalmatian pelican (Pelecanus crispus)
The Dalmatian pelican is a large bird of the family, Pelecanidae. It has a wingspan that can reach up to 11 feet (3.35m) in length and it is currently listed as an endangered species by the IUCN Red List.
It prefers freshwater wetlands and marshes, but also spends some time in coastal lagoons, saline lakes, or flooded pastures. Its diet consists mainly of fish which it hunts by swimming and diving underwater.
The Dalmatian pelican is one of the heaviest flying birds in the world with a weight that can reach up to 33 pounds (15 kg). It has an overall white plumage with black tips on its primary feathers. Its head is adorned by a yellowish and grey crest, while its neck and bill are bright pink or orange in color.
This species has an especially large bill that can measure up to 19 inches (48 cm) in length and it is capable of carrying more than 11 pounds (5 kg) of food. It can also use its bill to scoop up fish, crabs and other small animals from the water’s surface.
The Dalmatian pelican is a social bird that can be found in large flocks during breeding season. Once it has built its nest and laid eggs, both parents take turns incubating them. After hatching, the chicks are left alone in the nest until they reach an age at which they can be taken care of by both parents.
The Dalmatian pelican is found in parts of Europe, Asia and Africa. It faces many threats such as habitat loss due to development and human activities causing water pollution. It is also affected by the illegal hunting and trapping of birds for their feathers, which are then used to make traditional costumes.
10. Great bustard (Otis tarda)
This bird has the longest wingspan among all ground-dwelling birds. The great bustard is native to the temperate grasslands and steppes of Eurasia, making it one of the few ground-dwelling species of birds that can be found in this region. It has a wingspan that ranges from between 1.32 to 2.75 meters (4.3-9 feet).
The great bustard is an omnivorous species and can be found in open grasslands, meadows, steppes, and cultivated fields eating a variety of insects and small animals. Its diet also consists of seeds, grains and fruits when they are available.
The great bustard has a spectacular courtship display which includes the male spreading its wings and strutting around to attract females. The female chooses a nest site, builds it and cares for the young chicks.
Though it is not considered threatened, this species is still vulnerable due to various factors such as hunting, habitat loss and fragmentation due to agricultural and urban expansion. Conservation efforts are underway to protect the great bustard and its natural habitats.
The bird with the largest wingspan is the wandering albatross, which has a wingspan of up to 11.5 feet. This makes it the biggest of all flying birds and one of the most impressive sights in nature. The unique size and power of the wandering albatross allow it to soar for long periods of time over vast distances, covering hundreds of miles in a single flight.
Though the wandering albatross may be the biggest of all birds with wingspans, there are a variety of other large flying birds with impressive wingspans as well. From eagles to condors and more, these majestic creatures have been renowned for their impressive size and graceful flight for centuries.