Top 10 Strongest Birds in The World

Certain birds exhibit remarkable strength relative to their size, enabling them to lift surprisingly heavy loads. However, have you ever wondered which birds have the ability to handle the most substantial weight? These remarkable avian creatures are renowned as some of the world’s strongest due to their capacity to hoist animals and objects, often exceeding their own body weight.

It should come as no surprise to bird enthusiasts that the members of our list all belong to the category of birds of prey. Eagles, vultures, falcons, hawks, and owls possess unparalleled strength that’s hard to rival. When these formidable predators swoop down, it’s a daunting challenge for their prey to evade their powerful attacks.

In this exploration, we’ll delve into the world of the ten mightiest birds on Earth, examining their impressive lifting capabilities and gaining a deeper understanding of their remarkable strength.

List of Top 10 Strongest Birds in The World

Cassowary

  • Scientific name: Genus Casuarius (includes several species)
  • Lifespan: Typically 40-50 years
  • Size: Large flightless bird; varies by species, with the Southern Cassowary being the largest, reaching up to 5.9 feet (1.8 meters) in height
  • Origin: Native to the tropical forests of New Guinea and northern Australia

The cassowary, scientifically known as Casuarius, holds the reputation of being the world’s most dangerous bird. This large terrestrial bird is native to Australia and Oceania, measuring up to 5.8 feet in length and weighing up to 130 pounds. With its strength concentrated in its powerful legs, the cassowary’s size is formidable.

While there are no official studies on the force of a cassowary’s kick, it’s known that cassowaries, along with ostriches, are the only birds that have been documented to cause fatalities to humans. A recent incident involved a 75-year-old man in Florida who was attacked and killed by his pet cassowary. Despite their herbivorous diet, these birds can be aggressive, posing a threat to pets and livestock.

Ostrich

  • Scientific name: Struthio camelus
  • Lifespan: About 40-45 years
  • Size: Largest living bird; stands about 7 to 9 feet (2.1 to 2.7 meters) tall and can weigh up to 340 pounds (154 kilograms)
  • Origin: Native to Africa

The ostrich, scientifically known as Struthio camelus, ranks as the second-largest terrestrial bird and one of the top 10 most powerful birds globally. Towering over cassowaries, ostriches are known for their exceptionally strong kick, which can inflict internal organ injuries and even be fatal to large mammals, including lions. Moreover, they are incredibly fast runners, capable of reaching speeds up to 43 miles per hour, surpassing any other bird.

Their power and speed make escaping them a challenging task, even for humans. The combination of strength and speed puts ostriches in a league of formidable birds.

Emu

  • Scientific name: Dromaius novaehollandiae
  • Lifespan: Typically 10-20 years
  • Size: Second-largest living bird; reaches around 5.9 to 6.6 feet (1.8 to 2 meters) in height
  • Origin: Native to Australia

Dromaius novaehollandiae, commonly known as the emu, is an emblem of Australia’s reputation for housing deadly creatures. As a strong and flightless bird, emus are adept at running at high speeds and are unique among birds for possessing calf muscles, providing them with extra strength.

Though they are not as aggressive as cassowaries or ostriches, emus are considered one of the strongest and most dangerous flightless birds. While there have been rare attacks on humans, fatalities have not been registered. Generally, emus feed on grass, insects, and small vertebrates. In a historic event back in 1932, a large group of emus managed to outmaneuver Australian troops sent to deal with their devastating impact on farms and crops.

Harpy Eagle

  • Scientific name: Harpia harpyja
  • Lifespan: About 25-35 years
  • Size: Large raptor; approximately 2.2 to 2.5 feet (67 to 76 cm) in length, wingspan of 6 to 7 feet (183 to 224 cm)
  • Origin: Native to Central and South America

The harpy eagle, scientifically known as Harpia harpyja, holds the prestigious title of the strongest bird of prey, as recognized by Guinness World Records. Despite being smaller in size compared to emu birds, it possesses an unparalleled fierceness. One unique feature of the harpy eagle kingdom is that the females are actually stronger than the males.

Weighing around 20 pounds, these formidable eagles exhibit incredible hunting and carrying abilities, capturing and transporting animals equal to or larger than their own size during flight. Their success lies in their long toes, spanning up to nine inches, and sharp talons, approximately five inches in length. Prey species of the harpy eagle include monkeys, opossums, and sloths.

Condor

  • Scientific name: Genus Vultur (includes Andean Condor and California Condor)
  • Lifespan: Typically 50-70 years
  • Size: Large vulture; varies by species, with the Andean Condor having a wingspan of up to 10.5 feet (3.2 meters)
  • Origin: Native to the Americas

Vultur gryphus, commonly known as the condor, is among the strongest birds in South America and belongs to the raptor family. These primarily carnivorous birds are known for their scavenging habits, although they have also been observed hunting for prey. Their powerful feet and legs enable them to capture and lift animals such as marmots, birds, rabbits, and other small to mid-sized creatures while they are still alive. In a remarkable display of strength, condors may even start feeding on their prey before it is completely deceased.

Furthermore, condors possess robust beaks that can tear open entire carcasses, allowing them to access their chosen food source.

Bearded Vulture

  • Scientific name: Gypaetus barbatus
  • Lifespan: About 25-45 years
  • Size: Medium-sized vulture; approximately 3.3 to 4.6 feet (100 to 140 cm) in wingspan
  • Origin: Found in mountainous regions of Europe, Asia, and Africa

Also known as the lammergeyer, the bearded vulture, scientifically named Gypaetus barbatus, is one of the strongest European birds of prey. This magnificent bird has a unique diet that predominantly consists of bones, with a preference for fatty ones. Unlike other scavengers, bearded vultures employ a fascinating technique to access the bone marrow. They lift the bones high in the air and drop them onto rocky scree near cliffs, effectively cracking them open to reach the nourishing marrow.

Their stomachs possess exceptional strength, capable of digesting bones as large as a bullock’s backbone. This remarkable adaptation sets them apart as powerful and specialized avian predators.

Barn Owl

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  • Scientific name: Tyto alba
  • Life span: up to 20 years in captivity
  • Size: length of 12-16 inches, wingspan of 39-49 inches
  • Weight: 0.5-1.4 lbs
  • Origin: worldwide distribution

The barn owl, scientifically known as Tyto alba, is one of the strongest flying birds, despite its preference for smaller prey. These nocturnal creatures are found in various geographic regions and habitats worldwide. Their diet mainly consists of small rodents, with occasional meals of voles, shrews, and young rabbits. Additionally, small birds and reptiles also make their way into their menu.

What surprises many is the force behind each attack. Barn owls opt for smaller prey not due to their inability to take down larger mammals but because small prey is more abundant and easier to catch. Remarkably, they can execute a plummeting strike on their target with a force equivalent to 14 times their own weight, about 150 times the mass of a mouse.

Golden Eagle

  • Scientific name: Aquila chrysaetos
  • Lifespan: Typically 20-30 years
  • Size: Large raptor; around 2.3 to 3.3 feet (70 to 100 cm) in length, wingspan of 6 to 7.5 feet (183 to 229 cm)
  • Origin: Native to North America, Europe, Asia, and northern Africa

Eagles are undoubtedly strong birds, with harpy eagles holding the title for the strongest bird of prey, Golden eagles also rank among the mightiest birds in America. Their grip strength is estimated at around 400 PSI, similar to that of bald eagles, and slightly lower than great horned owls, which boast a gripping force of around 500 PSI. The golden eagles’ hunting prowess extends beyond their powerful grip, as scientists discovered their ability to close their talons at an incredibly fast speed of 25 milliseconds after impact.

Great Horned Owl

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  • Scientific name: Bubo virginianus
  • Life span: up to 13 years in the wild
  • Size: length of 18-25 inches, wingspan of 36-60 inches
  • Weight: 2-5.5 lbs
  • Origin: North, Central, and South America

Slightly surpassing golden eagles in gripping strength, the great horned owls can exert a force of up to 500 PSI, solidifying their place among the strongest birds. Like other owls, they are primarily nocturnal hunters, targeting small to mid-sized prey. However, there have been reports of attacks on people in a Seattle-area park, displaying swooping behavior similar to Australian magpies. Their talons are their strongest assets, capable of catching prey with a gripping force comparable to a guard dog’s bite, capable of causing severe injuries, permanent disfigurement, or even death.

Secretary Bird

Grey crowned crane

  • Scientific name: Sagittarius serpentarius
  • Lifespan: 10-15 years
  • Size: 0.9 to 1.2 m
  • Native to: Sub-Saharan Africa

The secretary bird, scientifically known as Sagittarius serpentarius, is an exception to the typical pattern of large, herbivorous birds having the strongest kicks. This bird of prey, although mostly terrestrial, primarily feasts on meat. Surprisingly, it possesses incredibly powerful kicks, exerting a force equivalent to five times its own weight.

What’s even more astonishing is the speed at which these kicks occur—just 15 milliseconds. The most remarkable aspect is that the secretary bird executes these powerful kicks using only one leg and from a standstill position. Despite its carnivorous diet, its kicking abilities are on par with the strongest terrestrial birds, making it a truly impressive predator.

I'm Nauman Afridi, the bird enthusiast behind Birdsology.com. My lifelong passion for birds has led me to create a space where fellow bird lovers can find valuable insights and tips on caring for our feathered friends.Professionally, I'm a brand strategist and digital marketing consultant, bringing a unique perspective to the world of bird care. Whether you're a novice or an experienced bird owner, Birdsology.com is designed to be a welcoming community for all.Feel free to explore, and reach out if you have any questions or just want to chat about birds.
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