Feathered Furies: Ten of the World’s Most Terrifying and Formidable Birds!

Birds can be found all over the planet. Some are small and harmless, while others are more dangerous. Some of the birds in the latter group are even known to attack humans… but most are merely predators of other animals. In this article we list some of the most dangerous birds in the world, and learn some interesting facts about them.

Photo collage most dangerous birds

10 Most dangerous birds

The following list of of some dangerous birds, starting with arguably the most dangerous one… the cassowary.

1. Cassowary

Southern cassowary in a paddock
Southern cassowary in a paddock 

Scientific Name: Casuarius casuarius

The cassowary is a large, flightless bird that lives in the rainforests of New Guinea and its neighboring islands, such as Aru and Maluku. This species prefers swamps, savannahs, and eucalyptus forests, where it feeds primarily on fruits found on the ground.

Cassowaries are unable to fly due to their small wings and large bodies. They can reach six feet in height and weigh more than 100 pounds. These animals, however, are good swimmers with powerful legs that allow them to run up to 50 km/h and jump up to 4 feet high.

They’re also capable of inflicting serious injury with their long claws and have been known to attack humans, which makes them dangerous birds.

2. Ostrich

Male common ostrich standing
Male common ostrich standing 

Scientific Name: Struthio camelus

The ostrich is a large bird found in Asia, Africa, and Arabia. They’re typically found in dry and sandy environments and are among the few animals that can survive without much water.

It has a large body and long neck, and it can grow to be 9 feet tall and weigh 300 pounds. This makes them the world’s largest bird. Due to their small wings, ostriches can’t fly, but they can run at speeds of up to 70 kilometers per hour.

They also have powerful talons on their feet that they use to defend themselves against predators if they feel threatened. If ostriches are provoked enough, they’re capable of killing humans with their kicks and claws.

3. Emu

Emu walking in the grass field
Emu walking in the grass field 

Scientific Name: Dromaius novaehollandiae

Emus are large flightless birds from Australia. They’re the second tallest bird after the ostrich and can be found in a variety of habitats, including those near the coast. These animals have large beaks and strong legs that allow them to run at speeds of up to 50 km/h. They can reach 6 feet in height and weigh more than 100 pounds.

These large birds are considered dangerous because emus can run faster than humans and give their predators a powerful kick. It’s also difficult for people to get away from an angry emu if one attacks them because their legs are so long (and strong).

4. Lammergeier

Lammergeier 

Scientific Name: Gypaetus barbatus

The lammergeier, also known as the bearded vulture, is a large bird of prey found in Africa, Europe, and Asia’s mountains. They’re large vultures with a wingspan of up to 9 feet and a weight of up to 17.2 pounds.

These birds of prey can also fly at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. Lammergeiers are aggressively territorial birds that’ll defend their territory against other animals in the vicinity. They typically fly at high altitudes and will attack from the air if a potential threat approaches their territory, particularly during the breeding season, when they’re more aggressive.

Despite the fact that these animals are known to scavenge and eat dead animals, lammergeiers have been observed eating other birds and tortoises.

5. Great horned owl

Great Horned Owls
Great Horned Owl

Scientific Name: Bubo virginianus

The great horned owl is a large owl that’s native to North America and can be found in Central and South America. This owl has a wingspan of up to 4.6 feet and weighs up to 1.4 kg. They’re also referred to as ‘tiger owls’ because they’re one of the most fearsome owls.

These birds are one of the most common in America and can be found in a variety of habitats, including forests, marshes, grasslands, and deserts. The great horned owl is considered dangerous because it can attack animals larger than it if it feels threatened. They’re fiercely territorial and will attack anyone who comes too close to their nests.

6. Harpy Eagle

Harpy Eagle
Harpy Eagle by Colin Behrens from Pixabay

Scientific Name: Harpia harpyja

The Harpy Eagle is one of the world’s largest eagles and the most powerful bird of prey. It has a wingspan of up to 6 feet and a length of up to 3 feet. Harpy Eagles have 5-inch-long talons and powerful legs that they use to catch their prey.

They primarily feast on monkeys and sloths, but they may also prey on deer or anteaters. These eagles have extremely powerful claws with a grip strength of 530 psi, which means they can instantly crush the bones of their prey and kill them in an instant, and provoking them is a risky move.

7. Great Northern Loon

Common loon on the water

Scientific Name: Gavia immer

The Great Northern Loon is a large waterbird that can reach a wingspan of 5 feet and weighs up to 18 pounds. They’re distinguished by their black heads, white underparts, and a checkered pattern on their backs. Great Northern Loons can be found throughout North America, but they’re most common in Canada, where they can be found in lakes and large ponds.

They’re extremely territorial and can become violent towards people if they approach their nest or young, which is why it’s considered dangerous. They’ll attempt to stab the intruder in the abdomen or even at their head or neck with their sharp beaks.

8. Australian Magpie

Australian magpie perched on log
Australian magpie perched on log 

Scientific Name: Gymnorhina tibicen

The Australian Magpie is a black and white medium-sized bird native to Australia. They’re approximately 17 inches long and have a wingspan of up to 2 feet. These creatures prefer open habitats where they can forage on small animals and insects on the ground.

Though only a small percentage of these birds are known to harm humans, it’s possible that anyone could be attacked, especially during the breeding season. When people get too close to their nests or chicks, Australian magpies will dive-bomb, swoop, and even attack from the ground. However, this defensive behavior will cease once the chicks have left their nests.

9. European Herring Gull

European herring gull on rock
European herring gull on rock

Scientific Name: Larus argentatus

The European Herring Gull is a large gull that can be found throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. They’re distinguished by their white heads, necks, underparts, and light gray backs. European Herring Gulls have a 5-foot wingspan and weigh about 3 pounds.

Due to their large size and aggressive nature, European Herring Gulls can be considered dangerous. They can become aggressive toward humans and other animals who approach their nests during the breeding season.

These gulls are known to dive bomb and use their feet to attack. They also congregate and attack flying predators, alerting other herring gulls with warning calls.

10. Canadian goose

Canadian Goose
Canadian Goose

Scientific Name: Branta canadensis

The Canadian goose is a large bird native to North America’s northern regions, including Canada. They can reach 3.6 feet in length and weigh up to 24 pounds. Canadian geese prefer open habitats near freshwater ponds, lakes, rivers, and coastlines.

These birds can also be dangerous because Canadian geese have been known to attack humans if they feel threatened by them or their presence, particularly when humans come close to their nests. They’re also capable of attacking other waterbirds in order to defend their young.

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