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Which is the biggest bird of all

Updated on April 17, 2011

The biggest and heaviest bird is without doubt the Ostrich, with a height of eight feet and a weight of some 300 pounds. But it is a bird which cannot fly. On the other hand, it can run very fast and easily reaches 40 miles per hour. Its wings are ridiculously small, and they hardly even serve as stabilizers as it runs along.

Amongst those birds that do fly, two species vie for first place: the Great albatross and the Andean condor.

The first of these is a magnificent bird of the high seas. An unrivaled glider, it only comes on to land in order to lay its eggs and bring up its young. It sleeps as it glides in the air currents, and feeds off marine animals which it dives to catch. Its body is white, and is four feet long from the tip of its beak to the tip of its tail. Its very narrow wings are edged with black feathers; they have a span of 12 feet! Few rooms in modern blocks of flats are as wide as that.

The Andean condor is a bird of prey belonging to the vulture family; it too is an excellent glider, but has very broad wings. It lives especially off carrion. There are no feathers on its head and neck. It is certainly less attractive than the albatross, but it is a very useful animal, as are all carrion eaters, and its slow and wheeling flight is beautiful to watch.

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