Explore the lives of the largest birds to roam our planet, some towering over NBA players and boasting wingspans wider than a king-size bed. With nearly 10,000 bird species on Earth, here are the top 10 biggest birds, featuring the tallest, heaviest, and those with the widest wingspans
Harpy eagles are large, dark grey birds with a wingspan of 6.5 feet and weight up to 20 pounds for females and 12 pounds for males. They hunt prey at speeds of 50 mph, using their 5-inch claws for a fatal blow.
Albatross have the biggest wingspan of any bird, reaching up to almost 11 feet. Most of the 23 species are at risk of extinction due to getting caught in fishing hooks while scavenging bait from fishing vessels.
The ostrich is the biggest bird on Earth, growing up to 9 feet tall and weighing up to 287 pounds. Despite their large wingspan, they cannot fly but use their wings to steer and brake during a 43 mph run. They can also use their powerful feet to defend against predators like lions.
Rhea, South American cousins of ostriches, can weigh up to 66 pounds, grow up to 5 feet tall, and run at high speeds of up to 40 mph. They are flightless birds and the males incubate up to 40 eggs per breeding season for around 30 days.
The Southern cassowary is a large, prehistoric-looking bird that stands up to 6 feet tall, has a keratin helmet, and is one of the few birds known to have killed humans with its sharp 3-toed feet.
The Dalmatian pelican, the largest pelican species and among the largest flying birds, can fly at high altitudes, has a big appetite, and hunts by diving and scooping up fish with its bill pouches.
Shoebills, or whale-headed storks, are Africa’s peculiar and tall freshwater hunters standing at 5 feet (1.5 meters) and occupying a territory of 1 square mile (3 square kilometers) as solitary birds with a 60% success rate in hunting fish and small aquatic creatures.
Emperor penguins, the largest of the 18 penguin species, use their fat stores and layered feathers to insulate against harsh Antarctic winters, and huddle in colonies to reduce heat loss by 50%.
The Andean condor, the largest raptor with a wingspan of 10.5 feet, can soar up to 18,000 feet, scavenging 15 pounds of carrion per meal and living up to 50 years in the wild and 80 years in captivity.