The biggest bird species on earth probably won’t come as any surprise: it’s the ostrich! Ostriches are gigantic birds but sadly cannot fly.
Birds come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. From the spherical kiwi to the pointy pelican, the gigantic emu to the tiny robin; there are plenty of birds to suit any taste. But the biggest bird of all is the common ostrich, standing at a whopping 210 centimeters (or 6 feet and 9 inches) and weighing in at an average of 104 kilograms (229 pounds). This is an unbelievably gigantic size for a bird, measuring almost a foot taller than the average man and around a foot and a half taller than the average woman.
But ostriches aren’t the only big bird, so here’s some honorable mentions:
Other large flightless birds
Ostriches are the biggest bird, let alone the biggest flightless bird. But there are plenty of other gigantic flightless birds.
Take for instance the southern cassowary. These are flightless birds native to Australia (home to nature’s weirdest animals). They stand at around 155 centimeters and have an average mass of 45 kilograms.
Another example of a large flightless bird is the emu. Often confused with ostriches (mostly by children but still), the emu is also native to the home of the land down under and is also a giant flightless bird (i’m starting to sense a theme). Emu’s have an average height of 153 centimeters and an average weight of only 33 kilograms. I say ‘only’ because compared to the ostrich it’s not much, but on it’s own its mighty big.
Now for a giant flightless bird that’s NOT from Australia, the emperor penguin. Local to the Antarctic, emperor penguins are usually at around 114 centimeters and 31.5 kilograms. This is quite humble in comparison to our previous mentions; they are still big, but not quite the biggest bird.
Now for birds of flight
For flightless birds, the measurement of size is a bit different. Instead of the height and weight of the animals, we instead look at the wingspan. This is a bit more revealing in terms of the size of the animal.
Anyway, getting into it, the largest wingspan of any bird of flight is that of the wandering albatross. Their wings span an unbelievable 370 centimeters on average, almost doubling the height of the ostrich. You could make a very good argument for this being the biggest bird, but when compared side by side there is a clear winner between the two.
In close second is the great white pelican, spanning a very similar 360 centimeters on average. In general, out of the top 10 largest wingspans in the bird kingdom, only 2 of them aren’t a species of albatross or pelican. That might sound insane, but it makes sense that birds that are closely related would have similar wingspans.
The other two are the Andean condor, at eighth, and the Marabou stork, at tenth. These clock in at 330 centimeters and 320 centimeters respectively, both admirably gigantic but not quite the biggest.
I hope today’s blog has opened your eyes to the whopping size of some birds; they can be much larger than you might think!
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