There are an astounding number of birds in this world, 50 billion in fact, and they come in all shapes and sizes. With this number, it’s clear there are bound to be a few with impressive strength. So, which one of them is the strongest bird of prey? It’s the great harpy eagle.
In this list, there are 10 species, each being a part of the strongest birds in the world. A majority of them consist of predatory birds like the Great Horned Owl, others being part of the largest avians, like North African Ostriches and Emus.
Table of Contents
List of Strongest Birds on Earth
1. Harpy eagle
We’re starting strong with the elegant Harpy Eagle, a species native to South America’s thick forests. Despite its dignified appearance, this bird has been categorized as an apex predator and the strongest flying bird in the world.
When focusing on the eagle’s large talons, you’d know that it plays a role when it comes to strength. These claws can be just as big as our hands and are tough enough to lift animals much heavier than the birds themselves, such as monkeys.
The Harpy Eagle is also the strongest eagle in the world, capable of generating more force than a bullet once it swoops down on its target.
2. Steller’s sea eagle
The Steller’s Sea Eagle is quite large, one of the largest eagles in the world, bigger than the harpy eagle. You can find them in countries like Korea, Japan, and Russia.
This bird is classified as one of the strongest due to how they’re capable of carrying sea lions with their strong grip, something straight out of a story like in mythology.
3. Philippine eagle
The Philippine Eagle is yet another giant bird that, from its name, is native to the Philippines. This bird is festive in appearance with its ruffled feather coat along with its blue face. However, don’t be fooled as it’s a predator that feasts on its local jungle’s monkeys.
This eagle may not be the largest, but it’s still quite a size nonetheless with its 7ft long wingspan and 17-pound weight.
Philippine eagles are more known for their speed (62 m/hr) than being one of the toughest birds, but these avians are notorious for eating anything available around them with their ferocious velocity and strong talons, whether it be a deer, pig, or dog.
4. Bald eagle
The Bald Eagle is the face of North America and is known to be part of the strongest raptors in its continent. Their appearance is not only intimidating, with their 8 feet wingspan and massive talons, but these eagles strength can certainly strike fear into their enemies.
Their claws are vice-like and tough enough to not only grip but tear their prey to shreds–ten times more powerful than the force of human hands.
5. North African ostriches
There is no denying that Ostriches, specifically North African Ostriches, are one of the strongest birds in the world. Although they’re not exactly hunters, their size alone is a testament to their strength and ferocity.
Despite a weight of 340 pounds, the Ostrich is a bird that can go as fast as 45 m/h, enough to outdo Olympic runners. Their speed is possible with the help of their strong legs. Their legs are so strong that they can fend off a lion, even kill it, with just a single, coordinated kick.
6. Golden eagle
An eagle you can find in the cold regions of the Northern Hemisphere is the intimidating Golden Eagle. This breed may not be the most powerful eagle, but its grip is a formidable 500 psi, strong enough to hold even deer.
A golden eagle can weigh as much as 15 pounds, and when it comes to strength, the Golden Eagles can knock down their prey with a single attack, and this can include rabbits, other birds, and even dogs.
7. Great horned owl
Have you ever heard of a bird that can lift to about 4x of its body weight? No? Well, you have now. The Great Horned Owl, residing in North and South America, is among many of the Earth’s fearsome creatures.
Its grip is strong enough to kill its targets with one strike, and this deadliness is enhanced by the fact that horned owls can hear sounds as far as over 200m away.
We have yet another large bird on our list, the Emus. Though they aren’t as tall as ostriches, growing only as large as 5 ft, Emus rely on their thin legs which, contrary to their appearance, pack quite a punch.
Emus don’t need to hunt for food as their diet mainly comprises greens and the occasional insects, but this does not stop them from being capable of delivering killing blows to protect themselves against potential predators.
In a ‘face-off’ against the Australian army who was trying to protect the country’s wheat field, these birds actually outran most of the bullets soldiers fired at them. This fact doesn’t seem that surprising if you know emus can run at a speed of 30 mph.
Strength and size go hand in hand, because next on the list is the Gyrfalcon, an amazing bird that is considered the largest falcon in the world and a powerful predator of the Arctic.
With the Gyrfalcon’s 6 ft wingspan and 3 in. talons, this bird can lift around 5 pounds. Now, this might not seem impressive, considering the weight records of the birds you’ve encountered in this list, but this avian usually only weighs 3 pounds.
In other words, Gyrfalcons can lift 2x their weight, similar to one of the most powerful falcon bird, the peregrine falcon.
Cassowaries are creatures that look like they came directly from the Jurassic age. With their unique colors, distinct talons, and helmet-like head, it’s no wonder that this species is part of the most powerful birds.
Since they’re able to knock down pythons and even fight crocodiles, they can likely take you too.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is the most powerful bird in the world?
Other than the harpy eagle, the black wheatear is arguably the strongest bird worldwide. Male birds of this species may carry up to 3 kg or 6.6 pounds of stone at all times to prove their strength to their mates.
Factors that make birds so strong
Despite their hollow bones and light weight, birds can be powerful creatures, but what makes them so strong?
Birds have different beak shapes to suit their activities (hooked for tearing meat and triangular for eating grains, for example).
They also have struts for a tougher skeleton and breast bones to aid flight. Nails on birds also evolved to allow them to perch or catch prey, depending on the species.
What is the largest bird of prey in the world?
It’s the Andean condor. This bird can weigh up to 33 pounds and often lives in windy, mountainous areas, such as the Santa Marta mountains.
If you’ve ever been afraid of a small bird, just know there are bigger ones in the world that are far stronger. Of all the 10,000 known species of birds, these ten are known to be the strongest.
From big birds like the ostrich and light ones like the gyrfalcon, all of them are tough in their ways. So, now that you know the strongest birds in the world, make sure not to provoke them if you ever see them in the wild.
George and I became friends after a birdwatching trip with our new group. And we have been enjoying every adventure together. When he told me the idea of establishing a site that shares our experiences and fun, I immediately agreed. After trials and errors, here we have Thayerbirding.