The Animals With the Widest Wingspan

In this article you will find out, which animals have the widest wingspan. There is a bird that is also called the king of the sky: the Andean Condor.

Although it cannot carry anyone there would be enough space for two people on its large wings. The Pacific giant octopus is not a bird, but you could easily use its 97.6 inch (248 cm) long tentacles as a comfortable sofa. But who would lie down there and even close one eye?

Below this chart you will find more funny comparisons and learn how to measure the wingspan of an animal.

Albatross Wingspan
Wandering albatross 142-146 in (363-370 cm)
   
Birds of prey  
Andean condor 126 in (320 cm)
Californian condor 118 in (300 cm)
Bearded vulture 91-11 in (231-283 cm)
Secretarybird 75-87 in (191-220 cm)
Golden eagle 71-81 in (180-234 cm)
American eagle 71-96 in (180-244 cm)
Turkey buzzard 63-72 in (160-183 cm)
King vulture 47-79 in (120-200 cm)
   
Geese  
Trumpeter swan 122 in (310 cm)
Canada goose 88 in (224 cm)
   
Wading birds  
Marabou stork 118 in (300 cm)
Saddle-bill stork 94-106 in (240-270 cm)
Goliath heron 73-90.5 in (185-230 cm)
White stork 61-85 in (155-215 cm)
   
Owls  
Eagle-owl 74 in (188 cm)
Blakiston's fish owl 70-75 in (178-190 cm)
Snowy owl 47-59 in (120-150 cm)
Great horned owl 36-60 in (91-153 cm)
   
Cranes  
Wattled crane 90.5-102 in (230-260 cm)
Whooping crane 90.5 in (230 cm)
Manchurian crane 87-98 in (220-250 cm)
Sarus crane 87-98 in (220-250 cm)
   
Pelicans  
Dalmatian pelican 114-136 in (290-345 cm)
American white pelican 94-118 in (240-300 cm)
Australian pelican 90.5-102 in (230-260 cm)
   
Seagulls  
Blackback 59-67 in (150-170 cm)
Glaucous gull 52-67 in (132-170 cm)
Herring gull 49-61 in (125-155 cm)
   
Bats  
Kalong * 59 in (150 cm)
False vampire bat ** 40 in (102 cm)

* Fruitbat
** Bat

Wandering Albatross Wandering Albatross - Photo: David Osborn/Shutterstock

What is the Wingspan?

Or to put it another way: How do you measure the wingspan? For this, the animal has to spread its wings first of course. Otherwise it would be impossible to measure the wingspan. You start at the tip of the longest primary feather of one wing and measure the length to the tip of the longest primary feather of the other wing.

Measuring the Wingspan – Why Is It So Difficult?

You cannot tell birds to hold still when you are applying the tape measure or the meter stick. Birds also do not always spread their wings as far as they really can. This also makes measuring difficult. This is the reason why there are many contradictory statements regarding the widest wingspan of animals.

Many of them appear to be proven as they can be found in books, but – just like in the internet – they are often obsolete and unreliable. We have researched the data very carefully and keep updating this list regularly.

More Funny Comparisons

It is wonderful to look at butterflies gliding through the air. But if you happen to see an atlas moth, you rather have the impression of a monster moth passing by. Its wingspan measures 12 in (30.4 cm).

The wingspan of the Goliath bird-eating spider is hardly less impressive: 11 in (27.9 cm). If it spreads its legs, it is even bigger than a human head. If you take a textbook in DIN A4 format, its vertical length does not much exceed the diameter of a Goliath spider.

The Smallest Wingspan

The bumblebee bat is the smallest bat species and one of the smallest mammals. Its wingspan nevertheless measures impressive 5-6 in (13-15 cm).

Trumpeter Swan Trumpeter Swan - Photo: Brian Kenney/Shutterstock