What Are the World's Most Dangerous Birds?

Many people don't think of birds as dangerous animals, but several species pose potential threats to humans. Experts consider the cassowary, a large bird that hails from Australia and is related to both the emu and the ostrich, to be the most dangerous bird in the world because of its size, unpredictable temperament, dagger-like claws and ability to jump almost 7 feet (2 m) into the air. Other dangerous birds include the ostrich — which, like the cassowary, has an unpredictable temperament and sharp claws — as well as many birds of prey, such as falcons, owls and eagles.

More about cassowaries and other dangerous birds:

  • In 2011, a cassowary escaped from the Denver Zoo in Colorado, causing some degree of panic as the zoo's staff members tried to protect patrons while attempting to locate the renegade bird. The cassowary was eventually located, and nobody suffered any injuries.

  • Bird experts warn that injured birds of prey can be particularly dangerous, because they are often distressed and frightened, and warn that humans seeking to help injured birds should approach them with extreme caution. It generally is a good idea to contact local wildlife officials or animal protection authorities to ask for assistance.

  • Seagulls and Canadian geese are territorial birds that have been known to attack humans and domestic animals. In 2012, the Royal Mail halted deliveries to several towns in Scotland after a postal carrier suffered an attack by gulls.

Discussion Comments


@anon313861 - how horrific!


Back in the mid-sixties, at San Francisco Zoo (then still called Fleischacker Zoo), some teen boys were in the open section of the extensive aviary there. The birds revolted, the boys clambered over the high fence, but one was only about six feet up when the cassowary leaped and slashed him repeatedly on his back, puncturing both his lungs. The boy bled out and died on the fence.

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