The 10 Strongest Eagle on Earth and How Much They Can Lift

by duceditor

Key Points:

  • Harpy Eagles have a recorded lift capacity of up to 40 pounds!
  • Bald Eagles can usually lift between five and six pounds but have been known to lift an object up to 10 pounds if they come at it with high speed.
  • The four birds with the strongest lift capacity are all different types of eagles.

Some birds are incredibly strong for their size and can lift surprisingly heavy objects. But, do you know which birds can handle the heaviest loads? These amazing birds are among the strongest in the world based on their ability to lift animals and objects, sometimes heavier than their own body weight.

If you know anything about birds, it’s no surprise that the ones on our list are all birds of prey. It’s hard to match the incredible strength of eagles, vultures, falcons, hawks, and owls. And it’s not easy for the prey of these birds to survive an attack of such power.

1. Harpy Eagle

Harpy Eagle looking back to the left
Harpy eagles can lift sloths and monkeys over 30 lbs each.©Chepe Nicoli/

The harpy eagle is by far one of the strongest birds on Earth. This large bird of prey lives in tropical forests throughout Central and South America. Harpy eagles are apex predators (at the top of the food chain), with a recorded lift capacity of up to 18 kg (40 lbs). Females are generally larger and more powerful than males, with the largest individuals capable of lifting prey weighing even more.

What in the world would a harpy eagle lift that heavy? This eagle dines on mammals larger than many other birds can handle. In addition to other animals in their diet, harpy eagles eat sloths and monkeys over 13 kg (30 lbs) each.

A significant part of a harpy eagle’s power comes from its massive talons. Each of these talons is roughly the size of a human hand, and they’re incredibly sharp. Harpy eagle talons are very strong and can crush bones with ease.

2. Bald Eagle

Largest Eagles in the World: American Bald Eagle
Bald eagles hunt mainly fish but can lift much larger animals.©Dennis W Donohue/

Bald eagles are among the largest, most powerful raptors in North America. These birds are impressively large, with a massive wingspan of up to eight feet, and they don’t just look strong — they are mighty, too.

Though their diet consists mainly of fish, bald eagles have the strength to lift small deer and calves up to eight pounds with their massive talons. In addition, they can injure animals much larger than themselves, such as bears and elk.

The bald eagle is the national bird of the USA and is respected worldwide for its incredible strength!

3. Steller’s Sea Eagle

Largest Eagles in the World: Stellar’s Sea Eagle
Steller’s sea eagles are huge raptors with a wingspan of up to 9 feet!©nnattalli/

The Steller’s sea eagle is a massive bird and one of the largest sea eagles in the world. This eagle typically outweighs the harpy eagle by at least a pound. It lifts animals — like sea lions — weighing up to 20 pounds.

As with other eagles, the Steller’s sea eagle has a forceful grip and sharp talons that greatly add to its strength. All the better to catch and carry the salmon they love to eat! Similar to other fish-eating birds of prey, Steller’s sea eagles have hooked talons with spikey soles on their feet. This advantage keeps fish from slipping out of the eagle’s strong grasp.

In addition to its amazing grip, the Steller’s sea eagle has a massive wingspan of up to 9 feet, making it a fierce predator in the air.

4. Golden Eagle

Largest Eagles in the World: Golden Eagle
Golden eagles are among the biggest eagles on Earth.©Vladimir Kogan Michael/

Golden eagles are plentiful across the Northern Hemisphere and are powerful birds in the eagle family. These birds can lift as much as bald eagles and sometimes even more — up to 10 lbs!

Golden eagles have an enormous wingspan of up to 8 feet, with an average weight of up to 15 pounds. The heaviest golden eagle on record was a female weighing nearly 17 lbs. Female golden eagles typically weigh 2-5 lbs more than males.

Golden eagle talons measure up to 4 inches in length and have crushing strength. Their prey includes small to medium mammals (live or carrion) like rabbits, hares, squirrels, prairie dogs, fish, and birds.

5. Great Horned Owl

why do owls hoot at night
The great horned owl can lift up to four times its body weight!©Imran Ashraf/

Great horned owls are among the strongest owls on Earth. They live throughout North and South America, hunting for small mammals such as rabbits and rodents. But don’t let their diet of small animals fool you; they are large and very strong birds.

An average-sized adult male great horned owl weighs up to 5.5 lbs and can lift four times its body weight! With a wingspan of 5 feet and sharp talons up to 3 inches in length, great horned owls carry their prey with ease.

6. Gyrfalcon

Types of Falcon Birds
Gyrfalcons live in the Arctic and lift up to twice their weight.©John Hancock/

The gyrfalcon is the biggest falcon on Earth. This bird of prey lifts up to 5 lbs. That number might seem significantly less than what some of the other birds on this list can lift, but that’s quite a lot compared to the gyrfalcon’s own weight. The average gyrfalcon weighs around 3 lbs. That means an average healthy adult can lift nearly twice her own weight.

The largest gyrfalcons have a wingspan of up to 6.6 feet, and their razor-sharp talons can measure up to 3.1 inches in length, making them one of the most imposing predators in the Arctic.

Gyrfalcons hunt mainly birds, including ptarmigan, waterfowl, pheasants, and even other falcons.

7. Eurasian Eagle-Owl

Close-up of Eurasian Eagles Owl, sitting in a tree.
Eurasian eagle-owls lift an average of 4-5 lbs.©emranashraf/

The Eurasian eagle-owl is native to Eurasia. Europeans often refer to this bird of prey as the Uhu. Female Eurasian eagle-owls are larger than the males, growing up to 30 inches tall and weighing up to 3 lbs.

How much can a Eurasian eagle-owl lift? This bird can carry a pound or two more than its own weight – around 4-5 pounds.

With an average wingspan of 8.2 feet, Eurasian eagle-owls are among the largest owls in the world. Also, their sharp talons can measure up to 2.8 inches in length, making them formidable predators.

8. White-Tailed Eagle

Largest Eagles in the World: White-tailed Eagle
White-tailed eagles weigh up to 10 lbs with a wingspan of up to 8 feet.©Jerry Bouwmeester/

The white-tailed eagle is also native to Eurasia and is the largest European eagle breed. Similar to the bald eagle, this bird of prey lifts weight up to around 8 lbs.

Among eagles worldwide, the white-tailed eagle ranks fourth in size and weight. However, this eagle ranks first for wingspan size out of all current eagle breeds.

White-tailed eagles have a wingspan of up to 8 feet and weigh up to 10 lbs or more. Their dynamic wingspan and sharp, hooked talons give them a great deal of strength, but these eagles spend much of their day perched. The white-tailed eagle might appear to be on an all-day break, but it’s always looking for more food. Sometimes that means stealing another eagle’s catch!

White-tailed eagles are impressive birds that live along the coast and hunt mainly fish and water birds.

9. Philippine Eagle

Largest Eagles in the World: Philippine Eagle
The Philippine eagle lifts up to 6 lbs.©Michal Lukaszewicz/

Philippine eagles are also among the strongest birds in the world. As with most eagles, they can lift an average of nearly 6 lbs or more. The average Philippine eagle weighs up to 18 lbs and has a wingspan of up to 7 feet.

The Philippine eagle currently ranks as the longest eagle in existence, based on the length of the average adult female. Adult females grow up to 3.5 feet. The biggest female Philippine eagle on record was 3.8 feet in length.

The Philippine eagle is an apex predator and an opportunistic hunter. Also, it hunts mainly via still-hunting (watching for prey from one spot) and perch-hunting (moving from perch to perch). In addition, this strong eagle uses its powerful talons to kill animals like squirrels, snakes, rodents, lizards, and birds.

The Philippine eagle is the national bird of the Philippines. It is also the symbol of the Philippine Eagle Foundation.

The total number of these huge eagles is declining. There are only about 400-500 pairs left in the wild.

10. Red-Tailed Hawk

Animals That Molt - Red Tailed Hawk
The red-tailed hawk is one of the strongest birds on Earth.©Ondrej Prosicky/

Nicknamed “red-tail,” the red-tailed hawk is a large bird of prey found throughout North and South America. It’s one of the largest hawks on Earth! Red-tailed hawks weigh up to 3.5 lbs with a wingspan of up to 4.5 feet. Their powerful talons can measure up to 3 inches in length, making them deadly predators.

Red-tailed hawks can lift up to 5 lbs, including their favorite prey. These carnivorous hawks hunt squirrels, rabbits, and rodents. However, as opportunistic hunters, red-tailed hawks eat any small birds, fish, mammals, and reptiles they can find.

Strong Birds That Rarely Lift Anything

Largest Birds of Prey - California Condor
The California condor is one of the strongest birds in the world, but it doesn’t hunt live animals or carry its food.©MTKhaled mahmud/

You might wonder why we didn’t include two of the largest birds in the world — vultures and a type of vulture called a condor — in this list. While there’s no doubt that these birds are huge and strong, they mainly scavenge dead animals as food. Therefore, vultures and condors don’t need to lift animals or heavy objects because they feed right where the dead animal lies.

Vulture and condor talons and beaks are quite weak compared to other birds of prey. They’re strong in other ways but don’t have the same powerful grip for lifting.

Large flightless birds like the cassowaryemu, and ostrich are also very strong birds with large wingspans. However, like vultures, these birds don’t lift and carry much of anything, including their food.

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