11 Heaviest Flying Birds in the World (Up to 44 lb / 20 kg)

Tori Rhodes
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#1. Great Bustard (Otis tarda)

The Great Bustard is the heaviest flying bird in the world, with males weighing at least 30 lbs (14 kg).

Its average size is about 16″ (42 cm) long, measuring 12″ (31 cm) long including the tail feathers, with a wingspan of about 75″ (2.5 m).

The Great Bustard has the typical lifespan of a bustard, at about 20 years in the wild, and 40 years in captivity.

It makes one of the longest migrations of any European bird, travelling 5,000″ (15,000 km) from southern Spain to sub-Saharan Africa every spring.

It breeds in the fertile grasslands of eastern Europe, and winters in savannah and light woodland.

The Great Bustard has brown and white plumage, and its head appears similar to that of a turkey.

It is hard to tell male and female bustards apart, but they display subtle differences in size. Male Great Bustards are 3″ (8″ cm) longer, and 1″ (2.5″ cm) deeper across the breast than their female counterparts.

Females are also bulkier to accommodate to the weight of eggs.

#2. Kori Bustard (Ardeotis kori)

The Kori Bustard is a species of bird in the family Otididae. It is found from Senegal to Kenya, Angola, Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe.

The Kori Bustard is one of the heaviest flying birds on Earth. They are large, fast fliers and form massive flocks in mixed farmland and open plains.But they are only really active at night, even though they fly during the day (to avoid big birds of prey).

Bustards are found in a variety of habitats including moist savannah and grassland. Kori Bustard is largely a ground-living species, which makes it vulnerable to predators. They avoid this danger during the day, however, by constructing elaborate nest mounds.

These mounds act as a physical barrier, preventing predators from getting at the bird. Bustards dig in the mounds by using their necks to shovel away dirt. The circling, mounded nest not only provides a barrier but also protects young from the elements and predators and serves as a brooding location where egg incubation takes place.

Only the female bustard lays eggs, typically 2 to 8 at a time. Bustard chicks are vulnerable to birds of prey and foxes. The male serves as a body guard for the young, wildly flapping his wings and chasing off any predators that come near.

#3. Great Indian Bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps)

Physical Traits: The Great Indian Bustard is the largest flying bird in the Indian sub-continent. It has a length of about 110 cm, a 90 cm wingspan and weighs about 20 kg.

It has black legs, and blue-black neck, a yellow beak and a large brown body with white breast.

This bird spends most of its life on the ground but is a strong flier. The Great Indian Bustard is an endangered species and classified as vulnerable.

Researchers estimate that there are about 200 Great Indian Bustards left in India, where they are largely found in West Rajasthan and the semi-arid regions of Gujarat and Maharashtra. Males tend to have a larger range over females.

#4. Trumpeter Swan (Olor buccinator)

A HUGE swan, third heaviest in the world (8-13 kg or 18-29 lb). It can grow up to 45” (114 cm) and have a wingspan of over 7” (18 cm).

#5. Mute Swan (Cygnas olor)

Genus and Species: Cygnus olor

Average Weight: 13 lb 17 oz (6.1 kg)

Range: Southeast Asia, Europe, Northwest Africa, and the Middle East.

The Mute Swan is the heaviest flying bird and is native to Europe.

Their ancestors were introduced to North America from Europe by European settlers. It’s a popular waterfowl in zoological gardens due to its graceful appearance.

#6. Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus)

It is the largest European species of waterfowl and is native to Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, the UK, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Ireland, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, Slovenia, Romania, Greece, Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Austria, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia, and Herzegovina.

#7. Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus)

— 19.8 lb / 9.0 kg

The Andean condor appears in a wide range of colors, from almost white to powder blue. It has a 3.1-foot (95-centimeter) wingspan, making it the largest bird in the Western Hemisphere.

They will feed on dead animals and on carrion like gulls and buzzards, but they will also attack livestock, and animals very weak or injured that they find in the wild. They eat mainly meat, including internal organs, and do not scavenge in garbage dumps. The condor may carry away up to 35 pounds (15 kilograms) of food in its 2 feet (60 centimeter) long crop. It will store food in the talons of its opposed middle toe, allowing it to transport the food to a later feeding site. The Andean condor's long, yellow-orange legs are equipped with large, sharp talons.

Condors can soar to heights of 15,000 feet (4,600 meters) and have a keen eyesight. They are active during the day, particularly in the early morning and in the late afternoon. Unlike most birds, this species mates for life. The male takes no part in nest building or raising the young. The female lays one to three white eggs, which she incubates alone, for 40 days. The female and the young both mature at about four or five years of age.

#8. Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus)

The Dalmatian Pelican is a pelican found mainly in central eastern Europe and south western Asia. Its plumage is mainly white and its beak and webbed feet are bright yellow. It has a total length of 99””” to 107””” (254 to 273 cm)—with a wingspan of 174””” (450 cm) and a weight of 7.6””” to 8.3 lb (3.4 to 3.7 kg).

Possibly the largest bird flying today is the Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus), which is not a member of the pelican family but a member of the order Pelecaniformes. They are found in large white flocks in suitable habitats, both inland and near to the coast. Their scientific name is given because they have a black mark on the breast which is shaped like a “D”, like the Dalmatus.

#9. Cinereous Vulture or Eurasian Black Vulture (Aegypius monachus)

The Cinereous Vulture is the 2nd largest bird of prey in the world, and the heaviest flying bird. It is a scavenger, feeding mostly from carcasses of larger animals which it finds by soaring high in the air. The Cinereous Vulture is the rarest and largest species of the genus Aegypius.

The Cinereous Vulture is a short-toed bird of prey which is named after the ashy-gray color of the adult bird. There is a bare blue skin around the eye and yellowish skin around the beak. The plumage and wing shape vary, in rare cases it can be white. The male is larger than the female; the female is 115 cm long and weighs 6.6 kg while the male’s length ranges from 120-124 cm and his weight is 8.2-9.1 kg. The average lifespan of this species is 21 years.

The Cinereous Vulture’s range covers a large area of the northern hemisphere. It breeds in mountain areas across the northern Old World from Spain and Bulgaria eastwards through Turkey and the Himalayas to China. It migrates south in winter to the northern parts of Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian Subcontinent. It is a rare vagrant to the British Isles and Scandinavia.

#10. Himalayan Vulture or Himalayan Griffon Vulture (Gyps himalayenis)

#11. Wandering Albatross (Diomedea exulans)

In the world of birds, the wandering albatross may well be one of the finest examples of hardiness and resourcefulness at its most extreme.

Hatched from an egg weighing just 2 grams with the greatest of ease, the much more difficult challenge for this baby bird was learning how to fly.

Soaring through the skies with a wingspan of over 11 feet (3.3 m), this majestic specie can live as long as 60 years which is an extreme rarity for birds of any species.

Although they range the four corners of the world, and have an average lifespan of 45 years, wanderings albatrosses have been known to reach 80 years.

The female weighs in at 11-20 lb (5–) whilst the male of the species weighs in at 24-44 lb (16–-20 kg) making them the second heaviest flying bird in the world.