TOP 10 the largest flying birds in the world

TOP 10 the largest flying birds in the world

It’s common to see cardinal, robin, or sparrows visiting our bird feeder at our backyard. Those are pretty small and common to see in our daily life. You might joys to watching them with a bird feeder with camera in your daily life. However, Sometimes I wonder what are those largest flying birds in the world? What’s their wingspan and where are they live? So I dig up some research online.


Mute Swan, wingspan: 2.5 meters

It's common to see mute swan in urban parks or most of the waterways. However, it used to be a wild animal, not common to see in city parks. Mute swan is one the heaviest flying birds in the world, which are easy to identify with a large size, long neck, white feathers and orange-red beaks with a black ridge towards the top.

They inhabit cold areas, such as north central Europe, the British isles, and migrate south for wintering.

They prefer to feed on grain, leafier parts of the aquatic vegetation, also take insects or worms. Male swan is very sensitive to its territory and will chase intruders away.

 Here are some FUN facts of Mute Swan. “Mute” comes from the fact that these swans are quiet during flight or communicate with grunts and barks. The feathers of mute swans was used for writing in the ancient time, of which were called pen quills, then quill pens, and then just pen.  All Mute swan in England are owned by the queen. Each year the Thames River swans are rounded up and their beaks given the mark of the queen’s brand.

Kori Bustard, Wingspan:2.75 meters

The Kori bustard is a heavy bird with a large neck, which is easy to recognize by its size, crest, yellow beak eyes and feet. he back is brown, the tail exhibits black and white bands. You only find it in Africa, mostly are in the southwest of the continent. Because they prefer to stay in the areas with short grass and dry, sandy soil.

They are non-migratory, usually living in the same place as long as there are available sources of food and water.Kori bustard is not social bird, which usually occur alone or in small flocks, not in large groups.

Forage in low bushes or trees during daytime, spending the greater part of their time on the ground. Though they are shy and cautious, but not afraid of humans. However, they will couch or run immediately once they are threatened or alarmed. As a large and heavy bird, Kori bustard preferring to run when necessary, making heavy wing-beats, instead of flying.

Kori Bustard consumes food of both animal and plant, but it primarily feed upon meat, using insects, small species of mammal, reptiles as well as other birds, supplement with seeds, berries.


Dalmatian Pelican, wingspan: 3 to 3.5m

The Dalmatian pelican is among the largest birds alive today and it is also one of the heaviest flying birds. Dalmatian pelican generally breeds in the eastern Europe and the central Asia, going south for wintering.

It’s quite obvious that Dalmatian pelican use its throat to capture fish, but that also functions as a cooling mechanism. They open their beaks during hot weather, pulsating their pouch in order to speed up the rate of cooling by evaporation.

These Pelicans are social birds, live and travel mainly in flocks. Their behavior on land are not graceful, but they are expert at flying and swimming. Pelican spends lots of time on resting or preening, cleaning themselves through splash bathing, rubbing its head over its’ body to help distribute waterproofing oil through its feathers.

Fishes are its primarily feed, amphibians, small reptiles and aquatic crustaceans are also fit.


California Condor; wingspan:3 meters

The California condor is the largest bird in the North America, which is recognized as black with white patches under its wings, bald head with very few feathers. Its head color ranges from reddish-purple to white, and its bareness is a hygienic adaptation to eating dead and rotting meat, because it used to stick its head inside the carcasses to feed.

The California condor lives throughout the western U.S. from Mexico to Canada, inhabiting in rocky shrub land, coniferous forest, and oak savanna, and often found near cliffs or large trees, which they use as nesting sites.

California condors have great soaring and flying ability, they can soar without flapping for over an hour, covering sometimes 100 miles during a day while foraging.

California condor is non-migratory since it covers a large territory seeking food.They spend most of their time foraging and roosting, more than flying, mostly engaged in preening or sunning, grooming.

California condors has the lowest reproduction rate among bird species since it only lay one egg per year. It’s fun to know that its skin on the head and neck can change noticeably as a response to its emotional state, which help them to communicate.California condor is able to survive for 1-2 weeks without feeding


Himalayan Griffon Vulture; wingspan: 3.1 meters

A Himalayan vulture is the second largest of the old world vultures, after the Cinereous vulture, which mostly lives on the Himalayas on the Tibetan plateau, also found in the central Asian mountains. It has amazing flight ability, of which foraging can be at elevations of 5,000 m even more.

Himalayan vulture is Diurnal, solitary, and eats only dead animals, which usually gathers around carcasses. And they keep away from human settlements, less gregarious, prefer to nest high above the tree line on cliff faces on its own or in groups of four to six pairs.

 Vultures have a wide wingspan at 3.1 meters, so they can soar for a long time without needing to flap their wings while they look for carrion.

And they also have very strong immune system which enables them to eat rotting carcasses, including meat that is possibly infected, without getting sick.

It’s quite interesting that When a vulture gets upset, its head turns a red color, as if it were blushing.


Eurasian Black vulture, wingspan: 3.1 meters

The Cinereous vulture, known as black vulture or monk vulture, is a large raptorial bird which inhabit on temperate Eurasia. They are the largest old world vultures, attaining a maximum size of 14kg, 1.2 meters long and 3.1 meters across the wings.

Eurasian black vulture is non-migratory and a bird of hilly, mountainous areas, favoring dry semi-open habitats such as meadows at high altitudes over much of the range. They usually nest near the tree line in the mountains.

They are mainly distribute in Europe and Asia, across the Caucasus, the middle East and the Tibet area.

They usually be found alone or in pairs. Carrion of almost any type is their mainly feed, ranging from the largest mammals to fish, reptiles, even human being in Tibet.


Marabou Stock, wingspan: 3.2 meters

The marabou stork is a large scavenger that found in Africa, south of Sahara, living in both wet and arid habitats and can be found in open dry savannas, grass lands, lake shores, swamps. It is known as Undertaker because of its shape from behind, cloak-like wings and back, skinny white legs, and sometimes a large white mass of hair.

It features as large size, bare head and neck, huge bill, a pink gular sac at its throat.

Not like vultures, They often gather in groups near lakes or rivers. They usually follow other vulture to cast aside a piece, stealing a piece of meat from the vulture or wait until they finish. Sometimes, they also forage by wading in shallow water using their sensitive bills. When prey touches the bill, it snaps shut and the bird swallows its catch. Dependent on human garbage and hang out in urban areas.

Andean Condor, wingspan: 3.3 meters

Andean condor is extremely rare bird which found in South America. They prefer to stay in relatively open, non-forested areas.Andean condor is a large black vulture with a ruff of white feathers surrounding its neck.

Male Andean condor is with large white patches on the wings, wattle on the neck, large dark red comb on the crown of the head.Its head and neck are nearly featherless with a dull red color,  of which color change in response to the bird’s emotional state.

 Like other vultures, it spend most of their time soaring and often travel more than 200KM. Scavengers are their mainly feed, but they may also prey on small live animals.

Sunning is their way to stay warm and maintain healthy feathers.


Great white pelican, wingspan: 3.7 meters

Great White Pelican is one of the largest flying birds in the world, which lives in the shallow swamps in Africa. Since shallow and warm water ensure them with enough food resource, they usually inhabit in Eastern Europe, Northeast Africa, North of India and Southern Vietnam.

Its legs are short and strong with fully webbed toes that allow it to propel itself in water and to take off from the surface of the water.

They are good at flying and traveling in flocks in a V-formation to reduce drag from the group.Like us, they Live, breed, migrate, feed, and fly in formation in large colonies. Fishing is over by 8-9am and spend the remainder of the day on small islands or sandbars resting, preening, and bathing. Bathe by ducking their head and body into the water while flapping their wings.

The birds’ yellow gular pouch has capacity for 13 liters of liquids or up to 4KG of fish.

It does not dive to catch its prey, instead, it dips it head in unison with other birds to scoop fish into its huge throat pouch.


Wandering albatross, wingspan: 3.7 meters

Wandering albatross has wingspan across 3.7 meters which is the longest wingspan of any bird species. It live up to its name “wandering” when it takes fishing trips that last 10-20 days and cover 10,000KM. Despite its large size, this bird is wonderfully adapted for the soaring flight and is able to glide for hours without needing to flap its wings in order to regain height.

Wandering albatross can travel as far as 500KM in a day, spending most its life flying

The reason you see them stay resting on the water maybe because they eat so much that they cannot fly. One trick to know the age of the wandering albatross, the older a wandering albatross is, the whiter it gets.

It usually nests in sheltered areas such as valleys, plateaus, ridges, plains. Fly over the southern oceans, breed on islands to the north of the antarctic circle.


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