Top 9 Strongest Birds in the World (With Pictures)

the bald eagle - one of the strongest birds in the world

Birdwatching has been something I’ve been contemplating lately. However, I never got the chance because of the current situation. 

One buddy of mine had the opportunity to do so. He was excited to share photos of the bird he spotted. One of the birds he saw was the Philippine eagle. 

My birdwatching buddy was proud to say that it was one of the strongest birds he had taken a photo of in the wild. With that, my curiosity got me – what is THE strongest bird in the world anyway?

As one of the most deadly birds of prey, the harpy eagle is the world’s strongest bird. As an apex predator, the harpy eagle proves its strength by being able to hunt down massive animals. Harpy eagles have immense power, and it is said that they can exert 530 PSI grip squeeze, which is powerful enough to crush a human hand.

However, there are many other strong birds besides harpy eagles. Let us get to know nine of them with this list!

List of Strongest Birds in The World

Harpy Eagles

close up photo of harpy eagle

Found in the rainforest of South America, harpy eagles got their nickname as the strongest bird in the world. This 3.2 feet bird weighs 13 pounds and has an average wide wingspan of 5.7 feet.

With their unique build, harpy eagles can fly up to the speed of 50 miles per hour. By utilizing the force of their talons, harpy eagles kill their prey by crashing their bones.

These powerful birds prey on tree-dwelling animals, such as sloths and monkeys.

The harpy eagle also uses its size and talon to defend itself from humans and large cats.

In 2010, a BBC cameraman became unconscious after being attacked by a female harpy eagle. Another crew member nearly lost his kidney after being grabbed in the stomach.

However, It is rare to spot harpy eagles in the wild. Locating the harpy eagle’s nesting site can increase the likelihood of seeing them. 

One can immediately recognize them with their distinctive discoloration. Harpy eagles have a gray head, black wings, and white underside, and their legs are also white with black stripes. 

Philippine Eagles

a large colorful philippines eagle

The Philippine eagle is a monkey-eating eagle found in the lush forests of Philippine Island. It is easy to distinguish it from other eagles due to its brown and white feathers and shaggy crest. 

Although not the heaviest eagle, the Philippine eagle is the biggest in terms of the wing surface. It has an impressive wingspan of 7 feet 3 inches while weighing only up to 17 pounds.

The Philippine eagle is one of the strongest eagle species in the world. They can fly up to 62 miles per hour, which surprises anyone that passes its path.

Besides monkeys, the Philippine eagle preys on other birds, flying squirrels, bats, and snakes.

This predator does not care whether it preys on a large or small animal as long as its strong claw can grab it.

The monkey-eating eagle also uses its speed and strength to protect itself. Although it can easily defend itself, the Philippine eagle’s biggest threat is human activity. 

People hunt for the Philippine eagle for its rarity. At the same time, people continue to destroy forests, causing the loss of the eagle’s habitat.

It is estimated that there are only 400 Philippine eagles left in the wild. The Philippine Eagle Foundation was founded in 1987 to ensure the protection and conservation of this rare specie.

The North African Ostriches

a big adult ostrich in an open field

Even though it is not a carnivore, the North African ostrich is known to be fierce and strong, and it will not hold back when provoked by anyone.

This 9 feet tall bird weighs 340 pounds. Although heavy, the North African ostrich can run up to 45 miles per hour. They run fast due to the recoil of elastic energy stored in their tendons, requiring lesser muscle power.

Being a prey of different apex predators, the North African ostrich is prepared to defend itself using its two-toed legs. In general, ostriches’ kicks can kill humans and even lions.

The North African ostrich is an omnivore but mainly consumes leaves, seeds, and roots. However, they are not picky and will eat anything, including insects, snakes, lizards, and rodents. 

Ostriches will also not shy away from consuming sands and pebbles. Although concerning, this practice actually helps the North African ostrich to grind their food in their gizzards.

They are also admired for their iconic black and white feathers. The male North African ostrich has reddish necks and legs, and in contrast, female ostriches have grayish necks and legs.

Related: Most Powerful Big Cats

Emus

an emu standing near the water

Standing at 5.7 feet, the Emu is the second largest bird globally in terms of height. This Australian native weighs an average of 121 pounds, and a female emu usually weighs 11 pounds heavier than a male emu. 

Emus’ main feature is their soft grey fluffy feathers. Unlike other birds, emus do not have tiny barbs in their feathers, and the absence of these spikes also makes the feathers flexible.

Similar to its cousin, the ostrich, emus have a plant-based diet. Emus’ meal depends on the season. For example, emus tend to eat flowers and seeds during summer and spring, and in winter, they rely on herbs.

However, they are also omnivore birds and will eat animals. Emus are agile and fast that they can easily catch a rodent, snake, or any small reptile. They also hunt insects and other animals as long as it is not poisonous.

As for their strength, emus have solid legs and lethal kicks that can destroy metal fencing, which they use for self-protection. 

Although a large and threatening bird, emus are a target for dingoes. They also leap quickly to avoid predators from reaching for their necks.

Although rarely, emus have been documented to attack humans

Cassowaries

black bodied cassowary with blue and reddish neck

The cassowary is another set of popular flightless birds native to the forests of Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and Northeastern Australia. Cassowaries are easily distinguished from other birds for their stark appearance. 

The cassowary has a blue head and neck, with red, orange, or black colors in the mix. It also has a casque called a helmet, and such casque is covered with keratin, similar to the composition of human nails. 

Interestingly, it is still uncertain the purpose of the casque on the cassowary’s head. There are suggestions as to why, including it being a sexual characteristic.

Although the cassowary has a colorful look, it is a shy bird. It has an average height of 5 feet 6 inches, but it can easily hide in the forests. 

The cassowary is also a talented and skillful bird. Even though it lives in a dense forest, it can run up to 30 miles per hour. 

This flightless bird can also jump up to five feet in the air and even swim in rivers and seas!

With tons of abilities, the cassowary is far from safe. In fact, they are often described as ‘the most dangerous birds.’

They have three-toed legs they use to protect themselves. The cassowary’s natural predators include phytons, dingoes, quolls, and crocodiles.

Martial Eagles

martial eagle perched in a tree

The martial eagle is considered the largest and the most powerful bird of prey in Africa. It has an average length of 2.8 feet, weighing around 8.7 pounds to 9.3 pounds. 

These air predators have dark feathers that may appear blackish or grayish depending on the light condition. They are distinguishable from all of their relatives with their deep yellow-colored eyes.

The martial eagle also differentiates itself from other strong birds by being the master of the sky.

They can fly up to the speed of 142.9 miles per hour, souring up to a height of 18,000 feet above sea level for hours.

This mighty eagle is a carnivorous predator that preys on mammals, reptiles, and birds. They are picky and will hunt even dangerous animals such as venomous snakes, monitor lizards, and medium-sized wild felines.

Despite its enormous speed and strength, the martial eagle is critically endangered. Unfortunately, its most significant threat is humans activities, and farmers treat them as pests for stealing livestock. 

Hunters also enjoy hunting martial eagles for their rarity. It did not help that humans continued to take over their habitat, which destroyed the eagle’s home.

Steller’s Sea Eagles

steller’s sea eagle during winter time

The Steller’s sea eagle is a large bird found in the coastal regions of Northeastern Asia. Though it is found mainly in Northeastern Asia, some of the steller’s sea eagles are in Russia, migrating to Japan during winter.

It distinguishes itself from other birds with its dark brown plumage and white wings. Unfortunately, the steller’s sea eagle’s colors make it more easily spotted by hunters.

Although it does not have natural predators, the steller’s sea eagle’s nests and hatchlings are preyed on by mammals and crows.

The Steller’s sea eagle is also considered the heaviest eagle globally, weighing about 11 to 20 pounds. However, in terms of different measurement standards, it falls behind the harpy eagle and the Philippine eagle.

Aside from its weight, the steller’s sea eagle has an impressive eight feet long wingspan. Their wings allow them to fly 30 miles per hour but can have shorts bursts of speed up to 45 miles per hour.

This heavy eagle preys on fishes, specifically trouts and salmons. It hunts fishes only along in the shallow parts of the water. 

The Steller’s sea eagle is a solitary bird and hunts alone. However, they are seen to flock together during August and September because of an increase in fish. 

Bald Eagles

powerful bald eagle mid-air

The bald eagle is a well-known bird of prey that prosper in the regions of North America. It received notoriety for being the United States’ emblem. The bald eagle was selected because it symbolizes strength and freedom.

The bald eagle has the iconic white-colored head and neck, brown-colored body, and yellow beak and eyes. The bald eagle’s color variation makes it easily identifiable.

Fortunately, it does not have any natural predators. But, their chicks are preyed upon by bobcats, bears, raccoons, and other large birds.

An adult eagle has a body length of 2.3 feet to 3.3 feet and a wingspan of 5 feet 11 inches to 7 feet 7 inches. The average weight of a bald eagle ranges from 6.6 pounds to 13.9 pounds. 

Like its cousins, the bald eagle is surprisingly strong, with its grip equivalent to 400 pounds per square inch, and this is ten times stronger than a grip of an average adult. 

The bald eagle is also fast, with an average speed ranging from 74.5 to 99.4 miles per hour, and it uses its swiftness to steal food from other eagles and birds of prey. 

However, they also eat carrion during the cold months when food is hard to find.

Lappet-Faced Vultures

a lappet-faced vulture with his wings spread

Vultures are scavenging birds, meaning they feed on carrion or leftover meat. And the lappet-faced vulture is no exception to this scavenging habit. 

The lappet-faced vulture has the largest and longest winged vulture, making it one of the most robust birds in Africa. It has an average body length of 3.1 to 3.7 feet and a wingspan of nine-feet wide. 

But the distinguishing characteristic of the lappet-faced vulture is its massive beak. This vulture can fly up to a speed of 30 miles per hour. 

It usually soars up in the sky to save energy, but at the same time to hunt for its next meal. The lappet-faced vulture has a pair of keen eyes that can spot a carcass over a mile away.

Although they scavenge, the lappet-faced vulture also hunts small prey, such as reptiles, small birds, fishes, and small mammals. Unfortunately, its population is in steady decline. 

People have been poisoning and persecuting vultures. Besides the intentional killings, the vulture is subject to collision with power lines and electrocution. 

Then, they experience massive habitat loss due to human activities. Unfortunately, even during their breeding, the lappet-faced vulture is being disturbed.

And because of these activities, the lappet-faced vulture is considered an endangered species (among many other species).

Conclusion 

The harpy eagle takes the title of the strongest bird in the world. Although not the largest one on the list, the harpy eagle proves that it deserve the title with its strength, speed, and skills.

Interestingly, some of the birds on the list are scavengers. Though, they all have the strength to hunt any prey of their liking. At the same time, we discover that a bird can be strong regardless of its breed.

Unfortunately, even with their strength, these birds are not entirely safe. Most of their population decline and habitat loss is caused by human activities. 

Thank you for reading. Hopefully, this article was informative and fun to read.

If you like this type of post, here’s a recommendation of another popular article: Strongest Gorilla Species