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16 Largest Birds Of Prey On Planet Earth

Griffon Vulture
Griffon Vulture

The largest bird of prey is termed as the biggest birds in the world who are raptors and at the top of the food chain. The skillset, traits and capabilities of these birds are amazing. Here is the list of largest raptors on earth or largest birds of prey in the world,

Largest Birds Of Prey

1.Andean Condor

Andean condor is the largest raptor in the world that can weight upto 15 kg or 33 lbs. The national bird of Chile prefers to fly in windy areas. It used to lay eggs on the edge of a cliff and there are scenarios when they act as scavengers. The avarage lifespan of condors is upto 50 years in the wild and in captivity, they can live longer. The sad part is that the population of the condor is decreasing because of poaching and poisoning efforts from ranchers and hunters. The bird specie also used as an important symbol in Patagonia that means power, liberty and health. The South American bird belongs to the family Cathartidae and is the only member of the genus Vultur.

Also Read: Top 10 Small and Cute Birds In The World

Andean Condor

Image Source: Wikimedia

2.Eurasian Black Vulture

Eurasian Black Vulture is also known as the black vulture, monk vulture, or Cinereous vulture is one of the largest birds of prey that can weight approximately 14 kg, 1.2 m long and 3.1 m across the wings. It also belongs to the group of Old World vultures that includes eagles, buzzards, kites, and hawks. It is also believed to be the largest true bird of prey in the world. that can reach upto 98–120 cm (3 ft 3 in–3 ft 11 in) long with a 2.5–3.1 m (8 ft 2 in–10 ft 2 in) wingspan. It is used to feed on fish and reptiles. Talking about the appearance, it is a distinct black colour with whole-body being brown excepting the pale head in adults. The adult vulture has brown eyes with a purplish cere, a blue-grey bill and pale blue-grey legs.

Image Source: Wikimedia

Eurasian Black Vulture

3.Lappet-Faced Vulture

Lappet-faced Vulture is one of the largest raptors known for its heavy head and massive bill. Talking about the appearance, the bird species has dark feathers and can be easily identified by its bare pink head and large skin near the neck. It can grow upto 100 to 105 cm (39.5 to 41.5 in.) along with a wingspan of 2.6 m (8.5 ft). It used to prey on small reptiles, fish, birds, and mammals and also known as a scavenger. The avarage lifespan of the bird species is 20 to 50 years in the wild and mostly seen in the regions of Sub-Sahara Africa, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Oman. The bird species loves to thrive in semi-arid or desert areas with only scattered trees and short grass.

Lappet-Faced Vulture

Image Source: Wikimedia

4.California Condor

California Condor is the largest flying bird in North America and mainly thrives in the forests, rocky shrubland and oak savannas of California, Arizona, Utah and Baja California, Mexico. Talking about the appearance, it has black plumage with white patches on the underside of the wings. The head is large and the skin colour varies from grey on young birds to yellow and bright orange on breeding adults. It is also one of the fastest among raptors that can reach upto speeds of 88 km/h (55mph) and altitudes of 4,600 m (15,000 ft.). It can travel approximately 150 miles per day in search of dead animals to scavenge and the species it generally preys on are cattle, deer, and sheep as well as smaller mammals like rodents and rabbits.

Image Source: Wikimedia

California Condor

5.Steller’s Sea Eagle

Steller’s sea eagle is one of the world largest eagles that belong to the family Accipitridae. It was first identified by Peter Simon Pallas in 1811 and later moved to genus Haliaeetus by George Robert Gray in 1849. Scientifically known as Haliaeetus pelagicus mostly inhabit estuaries and coastal cliffs. Talking about the appearance, it has a black to dark brown on most parts of the bod, howvever, the crown, thighs, tails, and shoulders are white in colour. They have uniquely large and yellow beaks along with sharp talons that are also yellow in colour. It breeds in Russia on the Kamchatka Peninsula and throughout the Sea of Okhotsk.

Steller’s Sea Eagle

6.Harpy Eagle

Harpy Eagle was mostly seen in Mexico through Central America and even in northern Argentina in South America. The bird species prefer canopy treetops of lowland tropical rainforests because they need big trees and wide territories in order for their numbers to flourish. The nests were built on tall trees and the same nest can be used over and over again by adding more materials to it. Talking about the appearance, it has a grey head that is crowned with a double crest of feathers and a shark beak which is long and curved. The chest, back and upper wings are charcoal colour, however. the belly is white. The adult harpy eagle can grow between 35 and 41 inches (89 and 105 cm).

Harpy Eagle (Maxmum Length- 107cm)

7.Himalayan Vulture

Himalayan Vulture is also known as the Himalayan griffon is one of the Old World species that belongs to the Accipitridae family. The second largest of the Old World vultures have an avarage lifespan of 20 to 30 years. Talking about the appearance, it has a bald white head where wings every wide and has short tail feathers. The neck ruff is white in colour and has a yellow bill. The dark flight feathers contrast with wing coverts and whitish body. It is mostly seen on the Himalayas on the Tibetan plateau (India, Nepal and Bhutan, central China and Mongolia) and is also found in the Central Asian mountains (from Kazakhstan and Afghanistan in the west to western China and Mongolia in the east). it can achieve a top speed of 48 km/h.

Himalayan Vulture

Image Source: Wikimedia

8.Bearded Vulture

The bearded vulture is also known as the lammergeier and ossifrage is one of the largest bird of prey that belongs to the genus Gypaetus. The diest includes only animal bones and hence known as bone-eating birds mostly seen in the rocky cliffs across southern Europe, Asia, and some parts of Africa. The bird species can weigh between 9.91 and 15.86 lb (4.5 – 7.2 kg). It is also identified as an Huma bird or Homa bird in Iran and north-west Asia. The eagle species breed once a year and lay around 1 to 2 eggs per breeding season. There are scenarios where it can lay 3 eggs in a season. The eggs hatch after 53 to 60 days.

Bearded Vulture

Image Source: Francesco Veronesi(Flickr)

9.Golden Eagle

Golden Eagles are one of the largest birds of prey that are capable of killing large prey such as cranes, wild ungulates, and domestic livestock, the Golden Eagle subsists primarily on rabbits, hares, ground squirrels, and prairie dogs. It is one of the raptors to have legs feathered all the way to the toes followed by the Rough-legged Hawk and the Ferruginous Hawk. The oldest record of the Golden eagle is 31 years, 8 months old when it was found in 2012 in Utah. The amount of white colour in the wings of a young Golden Eagle varies among individuals. There are few that lack white in the wings entirely.

Golden Eagle

10.Philippine Eagle

Philippine Eagles are native to the forests in the Philippines and listed as the largest of the extant eagles in the world in terms of length and wing surface. Talking about the appearance, the eagle species has a dark face and a creamy-brown nape and crown.The back of the species is dark brown, while the underside and underwings are white. The legs are yellow along with large, powerful, dark claws, and the deep beak is a bluish-grey. The species is distributed among four major islands of eastern Luzon, Samar, Leyte, and Mindanao.

Philippine eagle

11.Griffon Vulture

Griffon Vulture is also known as a Eurasian griffon is one of the largest birds of prey that belongs to the family Accipitridae. It is closely related to Rüppell’s griffon vulture and even with the White-backed vulture. The large bird can grow upto 93 to 122 cm long with a wingspan of 2.3 to 2.8 m and males weigh approximately 6.2 to 10.5 kg,howvever, females vary in weighing about 6.5 to 10.5 kg. Just like other vultures it mostly feeds on carcasses of dead animals which it finds mostly in open areas.

Griffon Vulture
Griffon Vulture

Image Source: Wikimedia

12.Wedge Tailed Eagle

Wedge-tailed Eagles is a large eagle species native to the Australian continent. It prefers all regions right from tropical Top End to Tasmania and regularly spotted over nearby regions as well. It used to build nests on tall trees and that is why it very necessary to retain healthy mature forests Australia-wide. The nests can be reused and can be approximately 2 metres in diameter and 4 metres deep. One of the largest birds of prey, mates for life and once they are hooked they keep looking for a large territory and defend it together. The varage wingspan is approximately 2.8 metres where females are larger than males. It is generally light brown but keeps on getting darker with the age.

Wedge Tailed Eagle
Wedge Tailed Eagle

Image Source: Wikimedia

13.White-Tailed Eagle

White-Tailed Eagle is also known as Sea Eagle or Erne can grow upto 65 to 95 cm in length and weigh approximately 3 to 7 kg. It is mostly seen in the regions of Northern Europe and Asia, winter in Mid-East and Eastern Asia. The largest bird of prey feeds on Fish, birds, small mammals and carrion but it also depends on the location in the world and on the season. While flying, it can reach upto speed of 70km per hour and it gets mature sexually at 4 years of age. The varage lifespan of species is 20 to 25 years in the wild.

White-Tailed Eagle
White-Tailed Eagle

Image Source: Wikimedia

14.Martial Eagle

The Martial Eagle is the largest eagle in the world based on a wingspan of 2.6 metres and also listed as the fifth heaviest eagle in the world. The best part is that it can identify its prey before five kilometres and have eyesight that is three times more acute than our own. The eagle species is native to sub-Saharan Africa and it the only member of the genus Polemaetus. It used to prey on guineafowl, francolins, bustards, and poultry. It loves to thrive in the savannah and thornbush areas of Africa south of the Sahara, from Senegal to Somalia and south to the Cape.

Martial Eagle
Martial Eagle

Image Source: Wikimedia

15.Cape Vulture

The Cape Vulture is endemic to South Africa. It can grow upto a length of 110 cm with a wingspan of 55 cm. Just like other vultures, the Cape Vulture produces the sound of cackling and hissing, howvever, it also grunts and roars. It loves to thrive near the mountains, in open grassland, arid savannahs and steppes. The mountains are also very helpful in the thermal currents necessary for the flight. It is mostly seen in the regions of South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, northern Namibia and southern Zimbabwe.

Cape Vulture
Cape Vulture

Image Source: Wikimedia

16.Bald Eagle

The bald Eagle is the national bird of the United States of America. The bid is popular for its majestic appearance and representation of freedom and strength. The unique part is that it can dive up to 100 miles per hour, howvever, on regular flights it can travel at a speed of 30 miles per hour. The avarage lifespan of the species is upto 28 years. It can grow upto 34 to 43 inches with a wingspan of 6 to 8 feet. The avarage wieght of the species is 6.5 to 14 pounds.

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle

These are the largest birds of prey in the world. Kindly share and do post your comments.

Written by Utsav Srinet

Utsav Singh is a Nature Lover and Blogger. He writes about facts and information related to Nature, Travel and World

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