What’s the Largest Bird in Texas?

What’s the Largest Bird in Texas?

Everything is bigger in Texas, right? We’ve got eagles, cranes, tall herons, and big hawks, all of which can be impressive in size. So which bird is officially the biggest in Texas?

The largest bird in Texas is the Whooping Crane. Individuals can stand as high as 5 feet 3 inches, and average about 15 pounds. They are heavier and longer than both Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles, the next largest birds, and have comparable wingspans to eagles at 7 feet 6 inches.

Bald Eagles are the second largest bird in Texas, closely followed by the Golden Eagle.

How Big is a Whooping Crane?

Height: 5’3”
Weight: 15 lbs
Wingspan: 7’6”

Whooping Cranes stand as tall as your average high school freshman, making them the tallest bird in North America, and one of the tallest in the world.

Their weight varies widely. Adults on the low end have been weighed at 9.9 lbs, while the heaviest recorded is 18.7 lbs. Males are generally about two pounds heavier than females.

Their wingspans are an impressive seven and a half feet across, but so are Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles. 

Want to see the largest bird in Texas in the wild? Check out our Where to See Whooping Cranes in Texas guide.

How big is a Bald Eagle?

Height: 2’7”
Weight: 12 lbs
Wingspan: 7’7”

Bald Eagles are the largest eagle and largest bird of prey in Texas. Like with most raptors, the females are notably larger than the males. 

This iconic bird can be found regularly in the eastern third of the state, especially during winter months when their numbers increase due to migration. They occur in low numbers throughout the western two-thirds of the state.

The wingspan of an adult female Bald Eagle can reach 7 feet and 7 inches, technically 1 inch more than the Whooping Crane. But when you average in the smaller adult males with wingspans of 5 feet 11 inches, Whooping Cranes keep their title of largest bird (on average) in Texas.

Compared to Golden Eagles, Bald Eagles are generally about 1.5 pounds heavier, making Bald Eagles king of the Texas skies. The two species don’t cross paths often, as Bald Eagles are more of a east Texas species, while Golden Eagles are more of a west Texas species. 

Want to see a Bald Eagle? Check out our guide on Where to See Bald Eagles in Texas.

How Big is a Golden Eagle?

Height: 2’6”
Weight: 10.8 lbs
Wingspan: 7’8”

Ranking Golden Eagles in the “biggest birds in Texas” list is difficult because they have more variation in size and weight than Whooping Cranes or Bald Eagles. 

On average they’re the same size or smaller than Bald Eagles, but the largest individuals outrank the largest Bald Eagles. This article uses averages to rank them, rather than a few beefy outliers.

Typical of raptors, female Golden Eagles are larger than the males by a difference of about 3 pounds. 

Although the average adult female weighs 10.8 lbs, an individual was once caught in Wyoming and weighed a whopping 17 lbs, the largest Golden Eagle on record globally.

Golden Eagles are kings of the desert. They like huge rocky cliff sides, dry mountains, and open grasslands that surround rocky plateaus. Far west Texas is the best habitat for them in the state.

They feed largely on prairie dogs, snakes, rabbits, young deer, and whatever else they can get their talons on and overpower with their large size. Sometimes they’ll also eat carrion, including roadkill.

Want to see a Golden Eagle? Check out The 3 Best Places to Find a Golden Eagle in Texas.