Birds are often thought of as small animals such as songbirds, pigeons, crows and the like. Even predators such as hawks and falcons tend to grow towards the small size. But some birds of prey that live have a size and wingspan that would shock you, hunting prey large enough to be predators of their own.
The golden eagle is the largest bird of prey in North America. With a wingspan of almost seven feet and weighing up to 14 pounds, the golden eagle is a sight to behold. Although this bird of prey usually feeds on smaller animals such as rabbits and squirrels, it has been known to snatch larger, unsuspecting animals from the ground. Livestock such as sheep, deer, even mountain goats are all prey in the eyes of this predatory bird.
The martial eagle is the largest bird of prey in Africa. Much like the golden eagle, it shares a very similar size and shape. It is known to be very aggressive; and its diet consists of poultry, monkeys, goats, lambs, and even jackals. The martial eagle is the largest avian predator in its region, and its violent and territorial nature has given it the nickname of, “The Leopard of the Air.”
Steller’s sea eagle is the largest bird of prey in Asia, weighing up to 20 pounds. With a wingspan of up to seven feet, this eagle feeds on mostly fish, but has been known to feed on larger marine life, such as seals. It has a black coat with white patches, and a large beak that it utilizes for catching fish. Its talons have a crushing force capable of breaking the bones of large mammals.
The Lammergeier is the largest bird of prey in Europe. This vulture weighs over 20 pounds, and its diet consists mostly of bones. Its head contains a crown of blood red feathers, and it prepares its meal by dropping large carcasses from great heights in order to break the bones and consume them. Unfortunately this bird of prey has been hunted dramatically due to fears that it carries off small livestock and children, all of which have been disproven or gone without evidence.
The Andean Condor is the largest bird of prey in the world. With a mostly black body and white collar on the males, they have a wingspan of over ten feet and weigh up to 33 pounds. Because of their large size, they prefer to live in mountainous areas with plenty of wind to make theirs.
Setting your sights on one of these marvels of nature is a treat indeed. Before you set off on your quest to find one of them, don’t forget to check out our guide–especially if you’re still new to this wonderful outdoor activity.