Bird Extremes

Biggest: The largest bird is the ostrich. It can grow up to 9 feet (2.7 m) tall. The ostrich also lays the largest birds’ eggs which are up to 4.5 x 7 inches (11 x 18 cm) across and weigh 3 pounds (1400 g).

Largest Extinct Bird: Dromornis stirtoni which was about 10 feet (3 m) tall and weighed up to 1,000 pounds (454 kg).

Smallest: The smallest bird is the bee hummingbird which is 2.5 inches long ( 6.2 cm) weighing only 0.06 oz (1.6 g). Hummingbirds lay the smallest birds’ eggs. They always lay 2 at a time, each the size of a person’s small fingernail.

Oddest Fliers: The only backwards and sideways flyer is the hummingbird.

Fastest in the Sky: The fastest flying birds include:

  • The peregrine falcon, clocked at 90 mph (145 kph). There are even accounts of these raptors diving at speeds up to 200 mph (320 kph).
  • The spine-tailed swift, about 90-100 mph (145-160 kph).
  • The harpy eagle – 37-50 mph (60-80 kph).
  • Champion racing pigeons fly up to 53 mph (85 kph).
  • Mallard duck – 65 mph (105 kph).

For more bird extremes, visit the Zoom Birds page from Enchanted Learning.


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The MSP project is funded by an ESEA, Title II Part B Mathematics and Science Partnership Grant through the Montana Office of Public Instruction. MSP was developed by the Clark Fork Watershed Education Program and faculty from Montana Tech of The University of Montana and Montana State University, with support from other Montana University System Faculty.