If you’re curious about the largest birds of prey, you’re in the right place.
In today’s article, we’ll talk about these large predatory birds. Some of the things we will cover are their size, range, and diet.
In case you didn’t know, birds of prey, also known as raptors, are carnivorous birds that actively hunt and prey on other vertebrates.
They usually fall into the following orders: Strigiformes (owls), Cathartiformes (New World vultures), Accipitriformes (mostly diurnal birds of prey), Falconiformes (falcons), and Cariamiformes (flightless birds).
Without further ado, let’s talk about the biggest birds of prey in the world!
15 Largest Birds of Prey
Here are the biggest birds of prey in ascending order.
15. Eurasian Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo)
Eurasian eagle owls are not only among the largest birds of prey but also among the largest owl species.
Females, which are bigger than males, reach up to 30 inches long with a wingspan of 6 feet 2 inches and weigh up to 10 pounds.
These predatory birds are one of the most widely distributed owls spread throughout Asia and Europe.
As nocturnal birds, these owls prey on small rodents, rabbits, other birds, and even reptiles, amphibians, and fish.
Healthy adults typically have no natural predators, thus, are considered apex predators.
14. African Crowned Eagle (Stephanoaetus coronatus)
As one of the largest birds of prey in the world, African crowned eagles measure up to 39 inches long, weigh up to 10.5 pounds, and have a wingspan of 5 feet 11 inches.
This beautiful bird is found in sub-Saharan Africa and lives in riparian woodlands and diverse forests.
Because they are among the strongest animals, these powerful eagles prey on considerably-sized animals, like monkeys, ungulates, and other mammals, such as the black-backed jackal.
13. Martial Eagle (Polemaetus bellicosus)
Native to sub-Saharan Africa, martial eagles are widely distributed in the continent.
These diurnal raptors are very large and can range from 31 to 38 inches with a wingspan of 7 feet 10 inches.
Females are usually 10% larger than males displaying high sexual dimorphism.
Martial eagles have incredibly keen eyesight being able to spot prey from as far as 3.7 miles away.
Due to both their underside spotting and ferocious efficiency as predators, they are sometimes nicknamed “the leopard of the air.”
These predatory birds are apex predators that prey on monitor lizards, venomous snakes, medium-sized wild cats, jackals, and a wide range of mammals.
12. Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
Bald eagles are not only among the largest eagles in the world but also the largest birds of prey in North America.
They reach up to 40 inches long, 7 feet in wingspan, and weigh up to 14 pounds.
Known for their beauty and dignified aura, bald eagles have white heads and black bodies. They start their hunting by observing prey from the perch.
Once they spot the prey, they swoop down and catch the victim with their strong talons.
They hunt fish, aquatic birds, and small animals while living close to bodies of water. Still, they also consume carrion and scavenge other birds’ prey.
When they approach scavengers such as dogs, gulls, or vultures at carrion sites, these animals will often attack bald eagles to force them to disgorge their food.
Still, healthy adult bald eagles are not preyed upon in the wild and are thus considered apex predators.
11. White-Tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla)
As one of the largest birds of prey in the world, white-tailed eagles can reach 37 inches long with a typical wingspan of 8 feet. They are also considered the fourth largest eagle in the world.
They have a wide range throughout Europe and Asia.
They usually live near large bodies of water where they can find fish and water bird species to prey on.
Both a powerful apex predator and an opportunistic scavenger, these eagles are considered a close cousin of the bald eagle, which occupies a similar niche in North America.
These magnificent birds are quite imposing with their grayish-brown feathers and fierce yellow beaks.
10. Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)
Golden eagles are found throughout North America, Europe, North Africa, and Asia. As such, they are among the most widely spread eagles.
When diving, golden eagles can drop very fast, reaching speeds of up to 200 miles per hour, making them one of the fastest birds in the world.
These predatory birds hunt ground squirrels, rabbits, and prairie dogs, among other small mammals.
Golden eagles are large raptor birds, reaching up to 40 inches long. Their wings are broad, and the wingspan is about 7 feet 8 inches.
9. Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi)
Massive and imponent, Philippine eagles are among the largest birds of prey in the world, reaching up to 3 feet 5 inches long and with a wingspan of 7 feet.
Philippine eagles are also known as monkey-eating eagles because they only preyed on monkeys in the region where they were discovered.
However, they also prey on birds, fruit bats, and reptiles, depending on the island they live on.
To this day, these large birds of prey have no natural predators other than humans, making them apex predators.
8. Steller’s Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus pelagicus)
Regarded as the heaviest eagles in the world, Steller’s sea eagles weigh about 11 to 22 pounds.
These large birds of prey are found in coastal areas in northeast Asia. They mainly prey on water birds and fish.
Females are usually bigger than males, reaching up to 3 feet 5 inches long, and their wingspan is about 8 feet, making them the largest of all sea eagles.
Steller’s sea eagles are monogamous animals, like 90% of bird species. Often, these massive birds are seen breeding from February through August.
7. Harpy Eagle (Harpia harpyja)
Harpy eagles are found in tropical lowland rainforests and prefer to stay in the canopy. These eagles are distributed in southern Mexico and Central and South America.
Having the largest talons of any species of eagle (4 to 5 inches), they can easily carry prey weighing up to their own body weight.
Harpy eagles are the largest eagles in the world, reaching up to 3 feet 6 inches long, having a wingspan of up to 7 feet 4 inches, and weighing up to 20 pounds.
These are striking birds with gray heads, slate-black feathers on their upperside, and white feathers on their underside.
Harpy eagles usually scan for prey while perching on trees. When they spot the target, they dive and catch them.
Their main prey is sloths, like the brown-throated sloth and Linnaeus’s two-toed sloth, monkeys, like capuchins and howlers, and armadillos. Still, they may also prey on small mammals, like squirrels and opossums.
6. Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus)
The only member of the genus Gypaetus, the bearded vulture, is also referred to as lammergeier.
Bearded vultures are native to Europe and are primarily found in the Alps.
These large birds of prey are pretty rare and prefer to build their nests in high mountains and very high rock edges. Historically, most of southern Europe’s high ranges, including the Alps, had beard vultures.
These rare birds of prey are very big, and adults’ length reaches up to 49 inches.
The wingspan of the bearded vulture can be as long as 9.3 feet. Huge, right? They are pretty heavy, too, and can be as large as 17.2 pounds, making them one of the largest flying birds.
5. California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus) – Largest Birds of Prey in North America
Well, it is easy to guess from its name that these large birds of prey come from central southern California deserts.
However, some populations are also found in Utah, Mexico, and Arizona. These ugly animals love to make their nests on rocky cliffs.
California condors are large birds of prey with a wingspan of 9.5 feet and can weigh up to 26 pounds.
4. Lappet-Faced Vulture (Torgos tracheliotos)
Lappet-faced vultures are old-world vultures mainly found in Saudi Arabia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Oman, and Yemen.
These large birds of prey mostly live in semi-arid or desert regions, where there are few trees and only short grasses.
The body length of lapped-faced vultures reaches up to 45 inches, the wingspan is 9.7 feet long, and they can weigh up to 21 pounds.
Lappet-faced vultures are considered to be the large-winged birds in their range.
3. Cinereous Vulture (Aegypius monachus)
Eurasian black vultures are also often referred to as cinereous vultures.
These predatory birds are Old World Vultures, and despite the similarities in the name, they are not related to American black vultures.
Eurasian black vultures are spread across Southern Europe and part of Asia. It needs to be noted that they are endangered in the European range.
These birds love to build nests on the tall trees and cliff edges of high mountains. As some of the largest birds of prey, these vultures have a maximum wingspan of 10 feet and weigh approximately 21 pounds.
2. Himalayan Griffon Vulture (Gyps himalayensis)
Himalayan griffon vultures are important scavengers for the ecosystem. They help nature by removing and processing carrion.
These large birds of prey are found in high-elevation regions of the Tibetan Plateau and Himalayas and are perhaps the largest and heaviest birds in the region.
The average weight of the Himalayan griffon vultures is 28 pounds. The wingspan of these amazing creatures reaches up to 10 feet 2 inches.
Unfortunately, on the IUCN Red List, these large birds of prey are listed as Near Threatened.
1. Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus) – The Largest Bird of Prey in The World
Andean condors are considered to be the largest birds of prey in the world based on their body weight and wingspan.
These Cathartid Vultures are native to South America and are generally found in the Anders mountain.
These massive birds of prey have the largest wingspan, reaching up to 10.10 feet, and they can weigh up to 33 pounds.
They flap their wings on rising from the ground, but after attaining moderate elevation, they flap their wings very rarely, relying on thermals to keep their hefty weight aloft.
Appearance-wise, they have featherless heads, a fluffy white collar of feathers around their necks, and black bodies.
Did you know? The Andean condor is Chile’s national bird and is even presented in the country’s coat of arms.
Final Thoughts on The Biggest Birds of Prey
These giant birds are among the most fascinating creatures in the animal kingdom, and rightly so because they are gracious but fierce birds.
We hope you enjoyed reading about them. Keep an eye out for more articles about interesting animals!
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