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The largest and most powerful birds of prey – Top 10

The largest and most powerful birds of prey – Top 10

Summary of the world’s largest predatory birds

Many people wonder which bird is crowned ‘king of the skies’. Based on numerous analyses related to these birds’ prey size, their aggressiveness and the proportion of the bird’s body size in relation to the prey size, we have appointed the winner and the whole list in that category.

This statement may surely provoke a discussion and we are curious about your opinion in that matter.

To precede in advance – the list is not determined by size – such a comparison may be found in the article: The largest eagles – Top 10. Today we try to choose the greatest warrior among the birds of prey.

Every species mentioned in the list has its individual article, so we do not copy those information here.

Crowned eagle (Stephanoaetus coronatus)
Crowned eagle (Stephanoaetus coronatus).

The world’s largest bird of prey

However a few words must be dedicated to this category’s winner – the crowned eagle (Stephanoaetus coronatus).

The crowned eagle (Stephanoaetus coronatus) is a bird which truly surpasses all limits – the ratio of its own body mass to its prey’s mass is largest among all birds of prey (we do not consider single unconfirmed rumors, only the hard data based on analysis of the typical size of a certain bird’s victims).

Most birds on this list are slightly bigger in terms of mere size than the crowned eagle – it is a result of their chosen habitats. Birds living in the wide open areas have a larger wingspan than the forest species (for example the abovementioned crowned eagle or harpy eagles).

Martial eagle (Polemaetus bellicosus)
Martial eagle (Polemaetus bellicosus)

No. 1

Naturally some position may be a little bit controversial, nevertheless there are no doubts about number 1 – we are certain that the crown (what a meaningful name, isn’t it?) is held by the crowned eagle (Stephanoaetus coronatus), also known as the African crowned eagle.

The Europe’s largest nocturnal predator

It is not a surprise that the list also holds the Europe’s largest nocturnal predator – the Eurasian eagle-owl (Bubo bubo), as it can hunt for roe-deer and is considered the greatest dog-dominator – it attacks them quite often.

Bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus)
Bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus).

Remaining ranks

Why the golden eagle or bearded vulture are not on top positions? These birds also hunt for large prey, but their hunting style usually does not involve a direct attack on the victim, as it is in habit of the crowned eagle, which often kills its target on the ground. Abovementioned birds regularly cut off the chamois’ and wild goats’ escape , which subsequently jump down the precipice themselves, out of fear. It is not even roughly comparable to fighting a predatory primate the size of a mandrill.

Regarding the Philippine eagle and harpy eagle – although both birds hunt for monkeys, a smaller part of their diet consists of large animals than it is in case of a crowned eagle.

As for the Steller’s sea eagle – its low rank results from the fact that it eats mostly fish.

Great Philippine eagle, monkey-eating eagle (Pithencophaga jefferyi)
Great Philippine eagle, monkey-eating eagle (Pithencophaga jefferyi)

The most powerful birds of prey – Top 10

Top 10 world’s largest birds of prey

  1. Crowned eagle (Stephanoaetus coronatus)
  2. Eurasian eagle-owl (Bubo bubo)
  3. Lappet-faced vulture (Torgos tracheliotos)
  4. Bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus)
  5. Harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja)
  6. Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi)
  7. Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)
  8. Bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
  9. Blakiston’s fish owl, Blakiston’s eagle owl (Bubo blakistoni)
  10. Steller’s sea eagle (Haliaeetus pelagicus)
  11. Martial eagle (Polemaetus bellicosus)
  12. Wedge-tailed eagle (Aquila audax)
Bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
Bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

Predator-scavenger species

The list does not contain condors, as they are scavenger birds, hunting only in exceptional cases. Yet the list does rank the lappet-faced vulture, for contrary to most condors, it also hunts regularly, additionally confronting jackals very often. As for the bearded vulture, it hunts even more frequently than its lappet-faced relatives, though carrion is still an important part of its menu.

Harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja)
Harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja).

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4 thoughts on “The largest and most powerful birds of prey – Top 10”

  1. The largest and most powerful eagle is the one that can tackles dangerous prey such as large snakes, monitor lzards, large monkeys, dogs and small pigs. Any large eagle can kill a deer or dulkiers regardless of how big or heavy it is, deer are simply no match to aireal predator like these powerful large eagles armed with razor sharp talons and a tremendous powerful grip, the one that could kill and lift the heaviest prey 3 to 4 times heavier than it self carrying up to its best is undoubtedly the Most powerful eagle and that is the Philippine monkey-eating eagle it feeds on a variety of prey like civets, giant cloud rat, large snakes, monitor lizard, colugos, giant fruit bat, small dog and pigs Philippine eagle was also found to have a 14 kg (30 lb) Philippine cervus deer up to its nest. Source: Threatened Birds of Asia.

  2. Quote: “Regarding the Philippine eagle and harpy eagle – although both birds hunt for monkeys, a smaller part of their diet consists of large animals than it is in case of a crowned eagle.” Eagles are confine only to the prey available to their home-range especially if they are non- migratory and highly territorial like the Harpy and Philippine eagles they will take what is available prey Harpy eagle evolved in hunting to the forest canopy snaching its favorite and easy target prey like sloth, small monkeys and birds it develop a thick legs and long large talong in pulling sloths and monkeys from the tree, while the Philippine eagle had to take prey from a 10 gram small bat to as big as a medium size deer there are no large mammalian prey the Philippine forest there is only one specie of monkey in the Philippines the long-tailed macaque which can weigh 8-20 lb deer are a very special treat for the eagle they are very scarce unlike in Africa where the choice of available prey is wide. Crowned hawk-eagle and Martial eagle known to take large bush buck or deer the Martial eagle although it feeds primarily on birds has the largest prey taken – “Martial eagles have predated adult duikers weighing up to 37 kg (82 lbs), perhaps the heaviest live prey item recorded.

  3. Philippine monkey-eating eagle was also documented taking on a large reticulated python, it was a long grueling fight between the snake and the largest eagle in the world, the eagle survived the ordeal and was captured by the villagers due to exhaustion. No other eagle specie on record dare to take on a large constrictor like the Philippine eagle the largest and most powerful eagle on the planet.

  4. totally disagree, Golden Eagle is by far the most powerful eagle ,the psychopath of all avian predators, i have worked with and studied Goldies for many years and i dont think there is another bird on earth what hunts such a huge range of species. There is only humans who its wary of everything else is potential prey, it has even been known to try and take horses in mexico.

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