What flying bird has the biggest body?

Answered by Phillip Nicastro

The flying bird with the largest body is the Great Kori Bustard, scientifically known as Ardeotis tardi. This magnificent bird can reach body masses of up to 18 kilograms (or 19 kilograms, depending on the source). It holds the title for being the largest modern flying bird in the world.

When considering the size and weight of the Great Kori Bustard, it is interesting to note that despite its impressive stature, it faces difficulties when it comes to taking off from the ground. In fact, it requires a significant amount of effort and runway-like space to achieve lift-off. Similar to a taxiing aircraft, the Great Kori Bustard must rely on running to gain enough speed and momentum to become airborne.

Now, let’s consider the hypothetical scenario of the Argentavis, a bird that is approximately 3.5 times heavier than the Great Kori Bustard. The Argentavis, also known as Argentavis magnificens, was an extinct species of bird that lived during the late Miocene period. It is believed to have had a body mass of around 70 kilograms, making it significantly larger and heavier than the Great Kori Bustard.

Given its immense size and weight, it is highly unlikely that the Argentavis would have been able to take off from the ground without some form of assistance. Taking into account the struggles faced by the Great Kori Bustard, it becomes evident that the Argentavis would have faced even greater challenges in achieving lift-off.

When analyzing the physics of flight, it is important to consider factors such as wing size, wing shape, and muscle power. In the case of the Argentavis, its wingspan is estimated to have been around 6 to 8 meters, which is truly remarkable. However, the sheer weight of the bird would have posed a significant obstacle to its ability to generate enough lift to become airborne.

In addition, the Argentavis would have required an enormous amount of muscle power to overcome its own weight and generate the necessary thrust to take off. This would have been a daunting task, as the bird would have needed extremely strong and well-developed flight muscles to achieve this feat. The energy expenditure required for such a takeoff would have been immense and likely unsustainable for the bird.

Considering the difficulties faced by the Great Kori Bustard, a bird much smaller and lighter than the Argentavis, it is safe to say that the extinct giant would not have been able to take off from the ground unassisted. It is possible that the Argentavis may have relied on alternative methods to achieve flight, such as launching from elevated positions or using updrafts and thermals to gain altitude.

While the Great Kori Bustard holds the title for the largest modern flying bird, it still faces challenges when it comes to taking off from the ground. The hypothetical Argentavis, being approximately 3.5 times heavier than the Great Kori Bustard, would have likely faced even greater difficulties in achieving lift-off. The immense weight of the Argentavis, coupled with the physics of flight, suggests that it would have required assistance or alternative methods to become airborne.