Blue-capped Ifrita, a small insectivores bird endemic to Papua New Guinea, sequesters a toxic substance in its skin and feathers. Handling the bird with bare hands can result in numbness and tingling sensation.
Often associated with peace and calmness, birds are generally considered as a harmless and non-aggressive species. Watching small, cute birds fluttering in the backyard each day can be a pleasant sight, and listening to their sweet, melodious songs is pretty enchanting. Generally, the thought that these feathered beings can be dangerous, aggressive, and hostile does not even cross our minds.
Notably enough, there are about 10,000 recognized living species of birds in the world, and each of them possesses a unique characteristic. While most of them can fly, there are also quite a few flightless birds. And, there are also a good number of bird species, which are known to be extremely aggressive. While almost all predatory birds fall under this category, there are also a few non-predatory birds that are known for their aggressive and ferocious behavior. Here’s our list of the top 10 most dangerous birds in the world.
No matter how beautiful and calm they may seem, as they fly over the waters in search of their prey, seagulls can be extremely terrifying and vicious. Seagulls are said to attack if one gets too close to their nests. However, there have been reports from many parts of the world, of seagulls diving down, attacking people and snatching their eatables.
In June 2006, the BBC News reported a seagull attack on a British woman in Devon, England. She was treated by paramedics in the ambulance and then hospitalized. According to the report, a seagull swooped down and stabbed her head several times with its beak. The puncture wounds were as deep as the length of the bird’s beak.
These birds of prey possess amazingly sharp eyesight and are among the most intelligent species of animals. They track their prey while in flight, and swoop down speedily to catch it. It is generally said that hawks attack humans only if the areas near their nests are frequented by humans and the birds perceive them as a threat. In such cases, the hawks injure humans with their huge talons or claws.
A 2010 Huffington Post report from Connecticut states that numerous people were attacked by a hawk, when they unknowingly frequented a place near its nest. Many people received head injuries when they were attacked by the bird.
Falcon is another bird of prey with beak and talons much sharper than those of the hawk’s. Like hawks, falcons too have territorial instincts, and tend to attack humans and other animals if they think that their dwellings are in danger. With their hook-shaped beaks (which distinguish them from the hawks), they can not only rip the flesh apart, but can also cut through the spinal cord of their victim. Therefore, if a human is attacked by a falcon, he/she would definitely run the risk of some serious injury.
A 2010 report from University of Buffalo’s South Campus tells us about an aggressive falcon who chased and attacked a number of people who had to be hospitalized due to severe injuries. It also attacked a dog which was left with bleeding ears and paws.
Owls are predominantly solitary and nocturnal birds of prey (apart from a few exceptions). They feed primarily on insects, other smaller birds, mammals, and sometimes, fish. Like hawks and falcons, owls also attack only if they perceive threat to their territory. However, there have been notable exceptions.
In January 2013, The Telegraph reported an incident that took place in the city of Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. An owl attacked a 58-year-old man, severely injuring him in the back of his head with its immensely sharp claws and beak. He suffered a deep wound and had to be hospitalized immediately.
Yet another bird of prey, the eagle is a large, powerful creature bearing a heavy head and beak, and very sharp vision. Eagles are generally not prone to attack humans. They usually attack and kill other animals such as dogs, bear cubs, and mountain goats. However, like other birds of prey, eagles also tend to get hostile if their nests or young ones are threatened in any way. Though the reports of humans being attacked by eagles are scarce, they have been numerous instances wherein small babies have been either attacked or snatched away by them.
In June 1991, The Seattle Times reported about an incident in Alaska where an amateur photographer was attacked by an eagle. The eagle, along with its mate, followed him and injured him with its sharp talons before he took to the ground. He was hospitalized with immediate effect after the mishap.
Vultures are huge birds of prey that scavenge on carcasses of dead animals. Like falcons, vultures also have sharp talons and hook-shaped beaks that can easily tear through flesh. Vultures, generally, are not known to attack living animals or humans. However, there are certain exceptions.
In 2008, two female tourists were attacked by a vulture in the Tenerife Jungle Park zoo on Tenerife island, Spain, according to a report in The Guardian. The bird suddenly swooped down from its perch to where the two women were sitting, knocking them off instantly. Both women were badly injured and had severe puncture marks on their heads and shoulders. They were rushed to the hospital soon after the incident.
These four to five-feet tall birds resembling an ostrich, weigh about 60 to 90 lbs. Though they are not as big as an ostrich, they have extremely strong legs and powerful feet. Rheas may otherwise seem pretty calm, however, they can attack humans if they go near them.
In 2006, a Rhea escaped from a farm in England and was on the run for quite some time. Owing to this, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) warned people not to approach the bird if they happened to encounter it on the streets. According to an animal collection officer of RSPCA, the birds are unbelievably strong and as their claws are as long as six inches, just one blow or kick from a Rhea can prove fatal for humans.
Swans may seem extremely serene and peaceful, but are actually very aggressive and territorial in nature. They are known to defend their dwellings from any kind of potential threat rather fiercely. If a human or an animal happens to approach their nest, these birds make a sharp, hissing sound and then, charge at their opponent with immense force. Their wings are strong and muscular, and are capable of inflicting serious injuries. Swans are also known to attack people in boats. Pecking them and beating them with their wings, resulting in bruises, eye injuries and sometimes, bone fractures.
According to a report published in Daily Herald in April 2012, a businessman drowned in a pond located in the vicinity of Chicago, after a swan attacked and knocked off his boat in the water.
The tallest and the biggest bird on earth may seem pretty friendly when seen on television or from a distance, but ostriches can be very unpredictable, and are capable of seriously injuring humans. For one, they are huge and heavy, and can run at a speed of about 35 mph. They have strong legs and can easily kick an animal to death. They have only one claw per feet, but it is so strong and sharp that it can break the human spine or kill him/her.
In February 2000, The Washington Post reported an ostrich attack in Spearsville, LA. An ostrich attacked and killed an 90-year-old farmer and seriously injured his 85-year-old wife when they entered the bird’s pen. The ‘killer’ ostrich was later, shot dead by the police.
Cassowaries are huge and ferocious flightless birds with black plumage and spongy crests, called casques, on their heads. These birds are around six feet tall and weigh around 130 lbs. Like an ostrich, the legs of a cassowary are also very strong, but it bears three claws on each leg; the middle one being about five inches long, sharp, pointed, and dagger-like. This bird was declared as the most dangerous bird in the world by the Guinness Book of Records in 2007. It has been accused of attacking numerous humans till date, ripping off their flesh and killing them instantly. However, they do not attack unless provoked, and are very territorial.
In 2012, the Courier Mail reported about Dennis Ward, who was attacked by an angry cassowary at Babinda Boulders near Cairns in Australia. He fell off a cliff and into the water after being kicked in the back by the bird. Though he survived the fall, he was seriously injured by the bird’s claw.
Birds, irrespective of how friendly and calm they might look, can display some extremely dangerous traits when provoked. And sometimes, their attacks can even prove fatal. So, keeping away from them is way better than being deceived by their beauty and serenity.