Did you know that some of our beautiful winged friends can sometimes be rather grumpy, and in some cases even extremely dangerous?
In this post, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most dangerous birds in the world, creatures you don’t want to come across any time soon!
Most dangerous birds in the world
The Cassowary is a flightless bird part of a group referred to as “ratites.” You will find these fascinating creatures roaming around in the tropical forests of Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, East Nusa Tenggara, the Maluku Islands, and northeastern Australia. And yes, these are considered to be the most dangerous birds in the world!
These are the third-tallest and second-heaviest birds on the planet and are known to dangerously lash out with the massive claws on their feet. Needless to say that this can inflict serious injuries and multiple people have died as a result. Feeding these birds is not a good idea as they are very wary of humans and will chase you away with the lethal weapons on their feet in a minute!
The Emu is just a bit taller than the Cassowary which makes it the second-tallest bird in the world. Just as their ratite group members, these are flightless birds who are endemic to Australia and can be found all around the country. Some subspecies which are now extinct also existed on Tasmania, Kangaroo Island, and King Island.
These huge birds, which can reach up to 1.9 meters (6.2 feet) in height, are also equipped with dangerous claws. What makes them particularly scary is that they sprint at a speed of up to 50 kilometers per hour (31 miles per hour), but luckily, they aren’t as wary of human beings as cassowaries and are actually more curious than anything else in the wild.
The Ostrich is probably the most famous of all ratites in the world. It’s the largest bird in the world in terms of height and can run even faster than the Emu with top speeds of up to 70 kilometers per hour (43.5 miles per hour), This makes them the fastest birds on land as well.
These birds are native to Africa and are known to lay the largest eggs of any land animal in the world. Of the 9 known species of ostriches that have ever lived on the planet, only 2 are still extant, known as the “Common Ostrich” and the “Somali Ostrich.” These easily recognizable birds are very popular and can be found all over the world in zoos and nature parks.
4. Bearded Vulture
The Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) is also known as the “lammergeier” or “ossifrage” and is a bird of prey with a terrible reputation. Part of this originates most probably from the fact that it’s the only vertebrate on the planet of which the diet nearly exclusively consists of bones which they pick from dead animals.
Luckily we don’t come across these scavengers too much because they live and breed in the high mountains of southern Europe, the Caucasus Mountains, and the mountain ranges in Africa, the Indian subcontinent, and Tibet. Their habitat has been seriously reduced, however, and they are now listed as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List.
5. Great horned owl
The great horned owl (Bubo virginianus) is also known as the “tiger owl,” a reference to the early days in which naturalists described this type of owl as a “winged tiger” or “tiger of the air.” And that pretty much sums up the sentiment regarding this creature which is known as a ferocious predator that eats just about everything it can carry.
It’s the most widely distributed type of true owl in the Americas and has an extremely vast range. They can fly at a speed of up to 65 kilometers per hour (40 miles per hour) and it usually crushes its unlucky prey in its feed, if it’s not killed by its extremely sharp talons on its toes first.
6. Australian magpie
The Australian magpie is a medium-sized passerine bird that is native to Australia and the southern part of New Guinea. These birds can grow up to a length of between 37 and 43 centimeters (14.5 and 17 inches) and are easily recognized because of their distinctive black and white plumage.
Saying that these creatures aren’t afraid of humans is an understatement. They can be found in residential areas all over Australia and sometimes behave rather odd during the breeding season. They become so aggressive that they randomly attack humans passing by as their eggs are hatching between late August and late November. This behavior is referred to as “swooping” and intensifies as their chicks grow bigger as well!
7. European herring gull
The European herring gull is one of the most famous birds along the shores of Western Europe. These are fairly large gulls and can grow up to a length of 66 centimeters (26 inches). They are very common in just about every country in Western Europe and are far from being afraid of human beings, which makes them some of the most dangerous birds in the world.
They have an extremely varied diet which includes fish, crustaceans, dead animals, and some plants as well. In case they don’t find food, the urban European herring gulls simply open up garbage bags on the streets or worse, pick the food you are eating straight out of your hands. Yes, these birds don’t hesitate to steal your food in the blink of an eye!
8. Barred owl
The barred owl (Strix varia) is also known as the “northern barred owl” or “striped owl” and is another large true owl species native to North America. Their preferred habitat is dense forests and they are for the most part nocturnal creatures and are considered to be opportunistic predators.
Their preferred prey are small mammals and they have a particular way of hunting, which is to jump from one branch of a tree to the next in order to spot prey. Unlike other types of owls, they can launch an attack as close as 6 to 10 meters (20 to 33 feet) away from the prey which was never aware of the danger in the first place.
9. Mute swan
The mute swan is referred to as such because it’s less vocal than other types of swans. That doesn’t mean that they are less aggressive though, because these birds can become very angry if they feel their nest or mate is threatened. This first results in a type of hissing sound, but what makes them some of the most dangerous birds in the world is that this is usually followed by an all-out attack.
This particular species of waterfowl is native to pretty much the entire Palearctic region which encompasses all of Europe and the northern part of Asia. On rare occasions, they can also be spotted in the northern part of Africa. They have also been introduced in North America and are pretty common there as well.
10. Common loon
The common loon (Gavia immer) is also known as the “great northern diver” and is one of the most famous members of the “loons” or “divers” family of birds. Their diet consists of fish, crustaceans, insect larvae, mollusks, and some aquatic plants as well. All of this is swallowed entirely as they dive into the ocean to catch it.
These birds can be found in many parts of North America and are also known to winter in parts of Western Europe. These are fairly common and popular birds and are the provincial bird of Ontario in Canada and the state bird of Minnesota in the United States as well.
This concludes our list with some of the most dangerous birds in the word, a collection of winged creatures that might look harmless (at least some of them), but which could potentially cause serious trouble!