Welcome to our gallery post highlighting the 9 Largest Birds of Prey in the World.
The 9 Largest Birds of Prey in the World
Large birds of prey have a way of grabbing our attention – whether it is the inherent fear we all have of them attacking us – or maybe it is because we don’t get to see them much often. Nevertheless, birds of prey are absolutely fascinating: the strong talons, highly accurate vision and strong beaks make them special members of the avian kingdom.
To showcase some of these incredible birds, we have put together a list of some of the largest birds of prey in the world today. Sit back and be prepared to be astonished by their truly unique qualities and features that make them excel at what they do: hunting prey.
Eurasian Black Vulture
The Eurasian black vulture (Aegypius monachus) is a large, carnivorous bird found in much of Europe and Asia. Also known as the black vulture or monk vulture, it is capable of attaining a maximum size of 13-15 kg, 1.2 m in length and 3.1 m across the wings.
It is believed to be the largest bird of prey in the planet, with the females being slightly larger than males. Its diet is mainly carrion which it tears up with the help of its powerful beak.
The Eurasian black vulture has a special type of hemoglobin which enables it to take in more oxygen while soaring high up in the sky. The bird lives in big stick nests which can measure 2 meters across and 3 m deep.
The Himalayan vulture is one of the few birds that can compare to the Eurasian black vulture in terms of size. It is probably the largest and heaviest bird living in the Himalayas. Adults can weigh as much as 12 kg, making them the second largest Old World vultures, behind the black vulture.
It has a bald head, broad wings and short tail feathers. It breeds on rock cliffs in the Himalayas and Tibet mountainous regions, laying a single egg. It produces grunts and hisses when roosting or when feeding on carcasses of animals.
The Philippine eagle, sometimes referred to as the monkey-eating eagle, is a brown and white-colored bird that lives in the forests of the Philippines. Measuring 86 – 102 cm in length and weighing up to 8 kg, it is the largest of the living eagles found in the world today.
This eagle is one of the rarest and most powerful birds on earth. Because it is critically endangered, the Philippine government has put harsh penalties on anyone found to have killed the bird.
It prefers eating flying lemurs and Asian Palm Civets, although they occasionally hunt other small mammals and reptiles for food.
Steller’s Sea Eagle
Steller’s sea eagle is a large raptor living in coastal northeastern Asia. On average it is considered to be the heaviest eagle in the world, weighing about 5-11 kg. Its diet is mainly fish and water birds.
Steller’s sea eagles are blackish-brown birds that have a huge, strongly curved yellow bill. The shoulders, tail and legs are covered by white feathers. They are migratory birds, breeding in the Kamchatka Peninsula, the lower parts of the Amur River and on the Shantar Islands in Russia, before moving down south to the Kuril islands and Hokkaidō in Japan.
Steller’s sea eagles are highly endangered as only 4,200 breeding pairs are thought to exist in the world today.
The Harpy eagle, sometimes known as the American harpy eagle, is the biggest and largest bird of prey in the Americas, and among the largest of the remaining eagle species in the world.
It usually lives in tropical rainforests in the upper canopy layer. Systematic destruction of its natural habitat is a big threat to their survival. In fact, it is almost extirpated in Central America.
Like other raptors, it has a strong beak and massive talons which can be as large as the claws of a bear. Its legs are almost as thick as a man’s claws.
The harpy eagle is Panama’s national bird.
The White-tailed eagle is an impressive European eagle with large club-ended wings that make the white tail look small. It has a large head and beak which protrude forward, giving the bird a vulture-like appearance.
These eagles mate throughout their lives, usually in the same territory each year. The same territories continue to be used as breeding grounds by successive generations of eagles for many decades. The diet is mostly fish, mammals and birds.
The largest numbers of the eagle are found in Norway and Russia, but sizeable populations exist in Greenland, Denmark, Poland and Germany. The White-tailed eagle became extinct in Britain in the last century due to illegal hunting, but a reintroduction scheme has been successful.
This is a very large eagle that is found in sub-Saharan Africa. It has an average length of 78-96 cm and a weight of about 3-6.2 kg. Of all the African eagles, the Martial eagle is the largest and most powerful, fully capable of knocking an adult off his feet. They are said to have enough power and strength in one foot to break a man’s arm.
Smaller birds are an important part of the diet for this eagle, including poultry, guinea fowls and francolins. In other areas, the mostly kill mammals such as monkeys, small antelopes and sometimes young domestic goats and lambs.
The Wedge-tailed eagle is the largest bird of prey in Australia. It is also found in New Guinea, Papua New Guinea as well as Indonesia. It has a unique wedge-shaped tail that is unmistakable, with long, fairly broad wings legs that are fully feathered.
It hunts by soaring in flight in circling motions. Once it spots a prey, it swoops onto it in a prolonged, slanting sloop. However, it is often fails to catch moving prey. It loves to feed on rabbits, wallabies and small kangaroos. Wedge-tailed eagles can stay in flight for hours on end, seemingly without effort, often reaching heights of 1,800 m. Why they fly so high is not fully known.
The golden eagle is perhaps the most common species of eagle in the world. It is dark brown, with a golden-brown tinge on the nape. It can be found in Eurasia, North America and North Africa. For many years this eagle was highly regarded in many cultures, its hunting prowess being used to hunt and kill prey such as gray wolves. Many communities consequently gave it mystic reverence.
The golden eagle is a very fast bird; it can dive on its prey at speeds of almost 250 kilometers per hour. This great speed enables them to catch rabbits, marmots and ground squirrels. They also eat fish, reptiles, large insects and carrion.