Male bee hummingbirds (mellisuga helenae), which live in Cuba, weigh 0.056 ounces and are 2.75 inches in length. The bill and tail account for half of this length.
Smallest Bird of Prey
The black-legged falconet ( Micrphierax fringlius ) of southeast Asia and the white-fronted or Bornean falconet ( M. latifrons ) of northwestern Borneo both have an average length of 5.5-6 inches, including a 2 inch tail, and weigh approximately 1.25 ounces.
The Pygmy parrots of Papua and nearby islands. Genus Micropsitta. There’s six different sorts - Yellow-capped, Buff-faced, Finsch’s, Geelvink, Meek’s, Red-breasted - all around 3" long (8cm). Thought to eat lichens and mosses but not much is known about their lifestyles.
Fastest Swimming Bird
Gentoo Penguin found on the Antarctic Islands can swim 40 km per hour. Large populations are found at South Georgia, Falkland Islands, and Iles Kerguelen although their breeding distribution is circumpolar. An orange bill and a white stroke behind its eye distinguish the black and white gentoos from the smaller adelie and chinstrap species. Long stiff tail feathers stick out behind as they walk, often cocked up in the water, no other penguin has such a prominent tail. They breed in winter at the more northerly sub-Antarctic islands, laying two eggs as early as July. Can dive over 300’ though most prey dives are shallower. Most dives last only half a minute.
Largest Carnivorous Bird
Titanis Walleri. This bird is known from the early Pleistocene (Ice Age) of Florida. It is the last known member of the family Phorusrhacidae, a group of large, flightless birds which evolved in South America. This creature had an estimated body height of 3 meters (if it stood fully erect, and 2.5 meters in more normal situations). Titanis really had arms instead of wings.
Tallest Flying Birdscrane
The largest cranes (family Gruidae) can be almost 6 ft. 6 in. tall.
Heaviest Flying Birds
The Kori Bustard or paauw (Ardeotis Kori) of northeast and southern Africa and the great bustard (Otis tarda) of Europe and Asia weigh about 40-42 pounds. There is a report of a 46 lb. 4 oz. male great bustard shot in northeastern China. It was too heavy to fly.
Heaviest Birds of Prey
Andean condors (Vultur gryphus) are the heaviest species of bird of prey. Males weigh 20-27 pounds and have a wingspan of at least 10 feet. A male California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) preserved in the California Academy of Sciences is reported to weigh 31 pounds. It is rare for the species to exceed 23 pounds in weight.
Flightless Kakapo around 7lbs in weight; New Zealand [contributed by Harold Armitage, Wild Macaws Wild Macaws]
SinbadA flightless nocturnal bird, which was described by early European settlers as " the most wonderful bird on Earth, " the Kakapo parrot was once endemic throughout New Zealand. Today only 50 birds remain, some of which live on Little Barrier Island (Hauturu) as part of a Department of Conservation endangered species recovery programme.
The name "Kakapo" is Polynesian (Maori) for "parrot of the night." Moss green, like Kakapo "Suzanne’s" foster brood, Codfish Island, 2002. Photo by Don Merton/DOC.the foliage of the native trees and grasses in which it evolved, funny and cuddly, with a wonderful spicy fragrance, this unique bird has small wings, useless for flight but handy to steer with when you’re jumping down a bank, and a rudimentary keel in its sternum. It browses forest trees, ferns, herbs, moss and lichen and grinds its food between a powerful lower mandible and a grooved pad in the upper mandible, a method of mastication which is thought to be unique.
The phoenix fowl or Yokohama chicken (a strain of the red junglefowl Gallus is bred in Japan for ornamental purposes. A rooster with a 34 ft. 9.5 in. Tail covert was reported in 1972.
The bill of the Australian pelican (Pelicanus conspicillatus) is 13-18.5 inches long.
The longest beak in relation to body length is that of the sword- billed hummingbird ( Ensifera ) of the Andes. At 4 inches, the beak is longer than the bird’s body (excluding the tail).
Only Nostrils on tip of Beak
The Kiwi is the only bird with nostrils at the tip of its beak. Whereas other birds hunt by sight or by hearing, the national bird of New Zealand uses its beaky nostrils to sniff out food at night. Although the Kiwi is roughly the same size as a chicken, it lays an egg which is 10 times larger than a hen’s. It also has wings but cannot fly.
The ostrich has the largest eyes of any land animal. Each eye can be up to 2 inches in diameter.
Largest Field of Vision
The eyes of the woodcock are set so far back in its head that it has a 360 degree field of vision, enabling it see all round and even over the top of its head
The African Grey Parrot has been called "the perfect mix of brains and beauty" (Bird Talk, Aug. 92) and the "cadillac of parrots" (Bird Talk Sept. 93). Much of the notoriety of this species stems from the phenomenal gift of speech members exhibit. While many parrots learn some words or phrases, many cases have been documented of African Greys learning multiple lines of songs, prayers, or plays. The Guinness Book of World Records lists the best talking parrot or parrot like bird as a African Grey named Prudle. Prudle was captured near Jinja, Uganda in 1958 and when "he" retired from public life in 1977 had a vocabulary of nearly 1000 words. Many owners have been surprised (and sometimes shocked) when their Grey learned a new word or phrase after hearing it only a few times. One of our favorite stories in this respect was one related by a priest that had a pet Grey. While hanging some pictures in his office, the priest hit his hand with a hammer. He let out a stream of obscenities that his Grey learned (from this one occurrence according to the priest). The priest’s embarrassment was compounded by the other aspect of greys gift for mimicking, that is they often sound exactly like the person that spoke the words or phrase. [contributed by Harold Armitage, Wild Macaws Wild Macaws]
Most Airborne Bird
The sooty tern (Sterna fuscata) leaves its nesting grounds as a youngster and remains aloft for 3-10 years, settling on water from time to time. It returns to land to breed as an adult.
A common tern (Sterna hirundo) that was banded in June 1996 in Finland was recaptured alive 16,250 miles away at Rotamah Island, Victoria, Australia in January 1997. It had traveled at a rate of 125 miles a day.
The American woodcock (Scolopax minor) and the Eurasian woodcock (S. Rusticola) have both been timed lying at 5 mph with out stalling during courtship displays.
Slowest Wing beat
The slowest wing beats recorded during true level flight averaged one per second. They were by several species of the New World vulture ( family Cathartidea)
The wandering albatross (Diomedea exulans) has the largest wingspan of any living bird. As a result, it is an expert glider and it is capable of remaining in the air without beating its wings for several hours at a time. The largest known specimen was an extremely old male with and 11 ft. 11 in. wingspan. It was caught in the Tasman Sea in September 1965. It has also been known to sleep while it flies!
Largest Ever Wingspan
The South American teratoron ( Argentavis magnificens), which existed 6-8 million years ago, had an estimated wingspan of 25 feet.
Parrot with largest Wingspan
Hyacinth Macaw, around 1100 mm - Brazil [contributed by Harold Armitage, Wild Macaws Wild Macaws] The Hyacinth macaw is the most majestic of all parrots. Although the Hyacinth Macaw and Green Wing Macaw are both commonly referred to as the "gentle giant" of the macaw species. The Hyacinths are truly the "dream bird" of all bird lovers. The Hyacinth macaw can attain the total length of up to 42 inches and have a beak pressure that can easily disassemble a welded wrought iron cage bar by bar in a very short time. In spite of their tremendous strength, this is one of the most laid back and easy-going of all of the macaws.
Fastest Flying Bird
The peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) is the fastest living creature, reaching speeds of at least 124 mph and possibly as much as 168 mph when swooping from great heights during territorial displays or while catching pry birds in midair.
Fastest Wing beat
The horned sungem (Heliactin cornuta), a hummingbird from South America, beats its wings up and down 90 times a second.
While hummingbirds are probably the champions of backwards flight they are by no means the only birds that can fly in this way. When two herons or egrets fight, periodically one of them caught at a disadvantage in the dispute will flutter backward. Occasionally warblers fluttering at the tip of a branch as they pick off insects will flutter backward when they overshoot some flying insect. It is probable that any bird which uses fluttering flight can move backward when pressed to do so.
Fastest Land Bird
Despite its bulk, the ostrich can run at speeds of up to 45 mph if necessary.
A Ruppell’s vulture (gyps rueppellii) collided with a commercial aircraft over Abidjan, Ivory Coast, at an altitude of 37,000 feet in November 1973. The impact damaged one of the aircraft’s engines, but the plane landed safely. The species is rarely seen above 20,000 feet.
In 1967, about 30 whooper swans (Cygnus were spotted at an altitude of just over 27,000 feet by an airline pilot over the Western Isles, UK. They were flying from Iceland to Loch Foyle on the Northern Ireland/republic Ireland border. Their altitude was confirmed by air traffic control.
The stride of an ostrich may exceed 23 feet in length when the bird is sprinting.
Highest G-Force Borne
The beak of the red-headed woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) hits the bark of a tree with an impact of velocity of 13 mph, subjection the bird’s brain to a deceleration of approximately 10 g when its head snaps back. Other woodpeckers may experience and even higher g-force.
Most Food Consumed
Hummingbirds (family Trochilidon) requires at least half their own body weight in food (mainly nectar and tiny insects) every single day. With the possible exception of shrews, they have the highest metabolic rate of any known animal.
An ostrich living at the London Zoo, England was found to have swallowed an alarm clock, a roll of film, a handkerchief, a 3-foot long piece of rope, a cycle valve , a pencil, three gloves, a collar stud, a Belgian franc, four halfpennies and two farthings.
The male emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri) spends several months without feeding on the frozen wastes of the Antarctic sea ice. It travels overland from the sea to the breeding colony, courts the female, incubates the egg for 62-67 days, waits for the female to return and travels back to the open sea, going without food for up to 134 days.
The wild animal known to have been killed and carried away by a bird was a 15 pound male red howler monkey killed by a harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja) in Manu National Park, Peru in 1990. The harpy eagle is considered the world’s most powerful bird of prey, although it weighs only 20 pounds.
An incredible video of a Golden Eagle taking a small Mountain sheep or goat and carrying it off to it’s nest.
The largest documented prey taken by a Philippine eagle is a 14 kg (30.8 lbs) Philippine deer Cervus at a nest studied by Kennedy in 1985. also on records; a mature female monkey taken and carrying it in one foot in Cagayan; and a large python.
The African crowned eagle is Africa’s most powerful and ferocious eagle in terms of the weight and nature of prey taken. Mammalian prey, especially duikers, may weigh up to 34 kg (75 lbs) and still be preyed on by these eagles.
The peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) is believed to be able to spot a pigeon from a distance of more than 5 miles under ideal conditions.