Can you imagine that some birds have a wingspan that can reach almost 4 meters (13 feet)? That’s as long as a car!
In fact, you’ll soon learn that all the species listed below have a wingspan of more than 3 meters (9.8 feet) long! If you’re a bird enthusiast, you’ve probably already envisioned yourself seeing one of these birds in flight!
As such, without further ado, we’d like you to meet the top ten birds with the longest wingspan! However, before we start, we must mention that while we tried to arrange them according to their maximum wingspan length, not all numbers were officially verified.
Moreover, there are multiple length claims for some species, and we couldn’t confirm which one’s indeed the actual length. Nevertheless, you’ll still be able to get an idea of how big these birds are!
10 Birds with the Longest Wingspan
10. Antipodean Albatross
- Scientific name: Diomedea antipodensis
- Size: 110 cm (43.3 in) long
- Weight: 4.5–8.5 kg (9.9–18.7 lbs)
- Wingspan: 3 m (9.8 ft)
The Antipodean albatross is a seabird with distinctive brown-and-white breeding plumage and a pink bill.
There are two Antipodean albatross species grouped depending on their breeding range. The D. a. Antipodensis breeds on the Antipodes Islands and Campbell Island, while the D. a. Gibsoni is found in the Auckland Islands group during the breeding season. However, this separation isn’t accepted by all specialists.
The species is a large seabird, having a length of 110 cm (43.3 in) and a weight ranging from 4.5 to 8.5 kg (9.9–18.7 lbs). As such, it earned its place on our list of birds with the longest wingspan!
Some sources argue that the species can reach 3 m (9.8 ft) in wingspan! Unfortunately, it is now considered Endangered, and conservation efforts are in motion to help save this uniquely large bird!
9. Marabou Stork
- Scientific name: Leptoptilos crumenifer
- Size: 120–130 cm (47–51 in) long
- Weight: 4.5–8 kg (9.9–17.6 lbs)
- Wingspan: 3.2 m (10.5 feet)
The marabou stork is often called the undertaker bird. Considering its macabre appearance – long legs, black wings, and a long, massive bill – it’s not surprising that people nicknamed it this way!
The species is native to sub-Saharan Africa. In South Africa, these birds breed in less populated areas, while those living in East Africa are accustomed to breeding in urban areas. Besides this, the species isn’t too picky as it inhabits both wet and arid environments and is often spotted nearby landfill sites.
Some specialists suggest that this species has the longest wingspan of all birds, arguing that it can reach a length of up to 4.06 m (13.3 feet). However, the only officially confirmed length is 3.2 m (10.5 ft), so the species is now the ninth on the list of birds with the longest wingspan.
It’s worth mentioning though that some other sources list the marabou stork as having a wingspan length of 3.4 m (11.2 ft). We can only hope that further research will put an end to this debate, and we’ll know for sure the wingspan length of the marabou stork!
8. Andean Condor
- Scientific name: Vultur gryphus
- Size: 100–130 cm (39.3-51 in) long
- Weight: 11.3 kg (25 lbs)
- Wingspan: 3.3 m (10.8 ft)
The Andean condor is a vulture species living in South America. It’s primarily found on the Pacific coasts of the South American continent and the Andes mountains.
Its natural habitats include open grasslands, alpine areas, lowland desert areas, southern-beech forests, and meadows. During the breeding season, these vultures are found at elevations of 3,000 and 5,000 m (9,800-16,400 ft), where they build nests on inaccessible rock ledges.
Needless to say, what distinguishes Andean condors the most from other birds is their enormous size! The species can reach an overall length of 100–130 cm (39.3–51 in) and a weight of 11.3 kg (25 lbs), females being slightly smaller than males.
With such a size, it’s no wonder the bird is among the world’s bird species with the largest wingspan. Although the mean wingspan has been measured at 2.83 m (9.3 ft), the maximum wingspan can reach 3.3 m (10.8 ft)!
7. Amsterdam Albatross
- Scientific name: Diomedea amsterdamensis
- Size: 107–122 cm (42–48 in) long
- Weight: 4.8–8 kg (10.5–17.6 lbs)
- Wingspan: 2.8–3.4 m (9.1–11.2 ft)
As its name suggests, the Amsterdam albatross breeds only in the southern Indian Ocean, on Amsterdam island.
It has been historically associated with the wandering albatross, the Antipodean albatross, and the Tristan albatross since they share similar traits. However, the species was subsequently assessed as deserving a separate classification.
These large birds are usually spotted at altitudes of 500–600 m (1,600–2,000 ft) during the breeding season. On the other hand, little is known about their range outside it.
The Amsterdam albatross is a great albatross species, as you’ve probably figured it out already. The species measures 107–122 cm (42–48 in) long and has a wingspan of up to 2.8–3.4 m (9.1–11.2 ft)! Just imagine how big it is and how gorgeous it must appear in flight!
6. Northern Royal Albatross
- Scientific name: Diomedea sanfordi
- Size: 115 cm (45.2 in) long
- Weight: 6.2–8.2 kg (13.6–18 lbs)
- Wingspan: 2.7-3.5 m (8.8-11.5 ft)
The northern royal albatross is often referred to as toroa. It’s a large, beautiful seabird nesting in New Zealand. Outside the breeding season, it spends its time flying in circumpolar flights in the oceans of the Southern Hemisphere.
Reaching an overall size of 115 cm (45.2 in), the northern royal albatross is among the birds with the longest wingspan. However, it’s unknown what the exact length is.
While some sources mention the species having an average wingspan of 2.7 m (8.8 ft), others suggest it can reach a length of up to 3.5 m (11.5 ft)! Despite this, even though scientists aren’t fully sure about the length, the species is certainly close to the top of the list!
5. Tristan Albatross
- Scientific name: Diomedea dabbenena
- Size: 110 cm (43.3 in)
- Weight: 6.8–7.3 kg (15–16 lbs)
- Wingspan: 3.05–3.5 m (10–11.4 ft)
The Tristan albatross is a Critically Endangered species in the Diomedeidae family. What a pity that such a stunning bird is on the verge of extinction! At the moment, only around 3,400-4,800 mature individuals are left.
During the breeding season, these birds are found in Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha. Outside the breeding season, the Tristan albatross travels to Argentina, Brazil, Angola, Namibia, and Uruguay.
Although its size is similar to that of other albatrosses, having an overall size of 110 cm (43.3 in), the Tristan albatross has a slightly shorter wingspan than the Amsterdam albatross.
While the latter can reach a maximum wingspan of around 3.4 m (11.1 ft), the Tristan albatross reaches only 3.05 m (10 ft). That is, if we guide ourselves by what some specialists argue. The thing is that other sources mention a wingspan of up to 3.5 m (11.4 ft), which makes it a winner!
4. Southern Royal Albatross
- Scientific name: Diomedea epomophora
- Size: 112–123 cm (44–48.4 in) long
- Weight: 8.5 kg (19 lb)
- Wingspan: 2.9–3.5 m (9.5–11.5 ft)
The southern royal albatross is a seabird in the Diomedeidae family and one of the largest albatross species. Most southern royal albatross specimens are found on the subantarctic Campbell Island, living in pairs. Other colonies are found on Adams Island, Auckland Island, and Enderby Island.
During the breeding season (usually November-December), southern royal albatrosses build nests on plateaus, ridges, or tussock grasslands.
Once baby albatrosses are born, they require roughly 240 days to reach maturity and, thus, the maximum size and wingspan, which can be 123 cm (44 in) and 3.5 m (11.5 ft), respectively!
Unfortunately, this unique species, one of the few birds with a wingspan longer than 3 m (9.8 ft), is now listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. We can only hope that conservation efforts will help save these large birds!
3. Dalmatian Pelican
- Scientific name: Pelecanus crispus
- Size: 160–183 cm (63–72 in)
- Weight: 7.25–15 kg (16–33.1 lb)
- Wingspan: 2.45–3.51 m (11.3–11.5 ft)
The Dalmatian pelican is often considered the world’s largest freshwater bird species! These birds are elegant creatures primarily thanks to their curly nape feathers and silvery-white plumage.
These pelicans live in and around rivers, lakes, deltas, and estuaries. It’s a migratory species, although it’s typically a short-distance migrator. During both the breeding and the non-breeding seasons, the Dalmatian pelican is found in Europe and Asia, engaging in various migration patterns.
Having a median weight of 11.5 kg (25 lbs), the Dalmatian pelican is regarded as the heaviest flying bird in the world. Its long wingspan, 2.45–3.51 m (11.3–11.5 ft), earned it the title of being among the few birds with a wingspan longer than 3.5 m (11.5 ft). Are there any species that can surpass it? You’ll soon find out!
2. Great White Pelican
- Scientific name: Pelecanus onocrotalus
- Size: 140–180 cm (55–71 in)
- Weight: 9–15 kg (20–33 lb)
- Wingspan: 2.26–3.6 m (7.4–11.8 ft)
The famous great white pelican! You’ve probably seen or heard at least once about this enormous bird species! Its breeding range extends from southeastern Europe to Africa and Asia, where it lives around shallow lakes or swamps. It’s one of the most widely distributed pelican species, so you have a high chance of spotting it at least once in your lifetime!
Being such a large bird and reaching a wingspan of 3.6 m (11.8 ft), we can only imagine how lucky you’ll feel if you ever get to see one with its wings spread open! The beautifully colored plumage only adds to its charm! Should we even add that the great white pelican has a huge pink-yellowish bill, which measures up to 47.1 cm (18.5 in) long?!
- Scientific name: Diomedea exulans
- Size: up to 135 cm (53.1 in)
- Weight: 5.9–12.7 kg (13–28 lbs)
- Wingspan: 2.51 to 3.7 m (8.2-12.1 ft)
You might’ve heard of the wandering albatross under other names, as it’s often called white-winged albatross or goonie! During the breeding season, this large albatross can be spotted on the Crozet Islands, South Georgia Island, and the Prince Edward Islands, to name a few. The smallest population (only ten pairs) is found on Macquarie Island.
Although these birds spend most of their lives flying, spotting one might be easier said than done because the islands they breed in are somewhat difficult to reach. But if this is on your bucket list, we definitely encourage you to follow your dream! After all, the species is known to have the longest wingspan among all birds!
The officially confirmed wingspan length is 3.7 m (12.1 ft). However, some suggest that there are larger specimens that have a wingspan length of 4.22 m (13.8 ft) and even 5.3 m (17.3 ft)!
Can you imagine what a sight it would be?! We bet any bird enthusiast is eager to see a wandering albatross at least once! However, we must warn you that the last two lengths haven’t been verified, so they’re pure speculation.