Large Birds of Florida

Living in Florida and unsure about the kind of large birds you saw?

The Florida Ornithological Society Records Committee (FOSRC) estimates that there are approximately 500 species of birds in Florida, a state well recognized for its nature. Additionally, there are several birds that grew to astonishing sizes, similar like the birds in Texas and Michigan.

Whooping cranes, Caspian terns, great horned owls, great blue herons, great egrets, bald eagles, black and turkey vultures, among many more, are among Florida’s large bird species.

The American white pelican, which has a length of 70 inches and a wingspan of 120 inches, is the biggest bird in Florida.

The California condor, which is not present in Florida, is the only larger bird in all of North America.

While some of these massive birds of Florida, such as the wood stork, great horned owl, and bald eagle, may be spotted year-round in the state, others, such as the American white pelicans, only visit during the winter.

We will consider each bird’s length and wingspan to determine which is larger.

The Peacock

The peacock is without a doubt the most well-known—or maybe I should say preferred—feathery companion in this community in Central Florida.

Pea birds, of which the males are peacocks and the females are pea hens, are typically spotted in and around the Windsong area because of the proximity to their sanctuary. As you can see, the species’ male has the most attractive colouring, while the female is a little less showy.

The peacock, which may be found on buildings, manhole covers, monuments, and signs, is the emblem of Winter Park. Click here for more detailed information on our peacocks.

A muster of peacocks or an ostentation of peacocks are more appropriate names for a group of peacocks.

Due to the fact that a peacock’s feathers regrow to their former splendor after molting, the peacock’s symbolism and significance in Christianity refer to the Resurrection. St. Augustine went one step farther and declared the bird to be incorruptible, probably in reference to the widespread notion that Peacock feathers shield objects from decay.

Since the wings of medieval paintings of angels are typically formed of peacock feathers, peacocks are likely associated with the angelic world and may even be a message from above.


Florida is home to the white whooping crane (Grus Americana) and the brown sandhill crane, two common species of crane (Grus canadensis).

Both have the distinctive features of an ostrich, including a bright red forehead, sharp beak, and rumps that stick out. The whooping crane, at 5 feet tall, is the tallest bird in the United States and is in grave danger. The sandhill crane is little over 3 feet tall.

Caspian Tern

The biggest tern in Florida and the entire world is the Caspian tern. Large head, coral red beak, shallowly forked tail, and loud, raspy cry make it simple to identify. The Caspian Tern is mostly white with light gray upperwings.

The early links of this huge bird with the Caspian Sea, where Caspian terns are still rather widespread, gave rise to its name.

During the latter months of the year, Caspian terns travel to Florida after nesting on big lakes and ocean shores in North America. These birds can even be seen all year round in some areas of Florida, particularly along the northern and central beaches.

When guarding their breeding colony, they are ferociously combative. Caspian terns will follow, attack, and drive away possible predatory birds. If people enter their territory, they may even bite them on the head.

Caspian terns will soar above the ocean as they search for fish. They will fly down quickly and dive to get one when they see one. They also occasionally eat certain rodents, huge invertebrates, and the young and eggs of other birds.

The Great Blue Heron

On a pier on Lake Mizell, I just came upon this Great Blue Heron while out for a stroll. The Great Blue Heron, which is sometimes referred to as a crane, is the biggest native heron in North America. He may be found all throughout North America, including the southern regions of Canada and Alaska in the summer.

However, this man favors the coastal regions of Florida, Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America in the winter, much like most snowbirds do. However, compared to other migratory birds, he can handle colder climates better. They live there all year round, mostly on the lower Pacific Coast and the Southern United States.

The blue heron enjoys various types of water, including fresh and saltwater lakes, marshes, mangroves, and flooded meadows. Almost any beach will be a major draw for these birds. Due to their solitary nature and lack of flock behavior, blue herons are often used as a metaphor for independence and self-discovery.

I came across this man as he was relaxing on a pier on Lake Mizell. Considering how little their colour differs, I’m not sure if it’s a male or a female. With a wingspan of up to 6 and a half feet and height of up to 4 and a half feet, this bird is truly impressive to witness in flight.

It’s interesting to notice that various bird species can be referred to by names other than the well-known term “flock” when they are in a group. A heron flock is often referred to as a hedge or a seige.

The heron represents the necessity for calmness and serenity in order to perceive possibilities. Additionally, it represents tenacity and a feeling of independence. Just halt when this elegant bird crosses your way and take a moment to reflect. When faced with a challenging decision or a chaotic scenario, sometimes that is all we need to do.

Great Egret (Ardea alba)

A species of heron with the recognizable long neck and legs is the big egret. It is a widespread species in North America with all-white plumage and a small, pointed yellow beak. The bird is 3 feet tall and has a 4.5-foot wingspan. A great egret’s tail feathers look to be torn.

Great Horned Owl

The great horned owl, often called the tiger owl, is the biggest owl species found all throughout Florida. It is also the biggest owl in North America and inhabits a variety of environments, including mountains, grasslands, conifer forests, deserts, and chaparral.

Of all the raptors in North America, the great horned owl has the most varied diet.

This enormous bird, which is fierce and a skilled hunter, eats reptiles, amphibians, insects, rats, mice, voles, other small mammals, and bigger mid-sized animals.

On rare occasions, it may even target larger prey, such as raptors like owls, peregrine falcons, prairie falcons, and ospreys.

They use their keen hearing and great vision to hunt, and they can fly almost silently to surprise their victim.

Great horned owls have terrifying bright eyes, long, ear-like tufts, and a loud hooting cry. If you happen to encounter one in person. Its plumage is mottled gray-brown with a white patch at the neck.

As monogamous birds, great horned owls can stay together for more than five years and occasionally for a lifetime.

Tricolored Heron

The Tricolored Heron is a considerably smaller variant of the Great Blue. This little creature has a three-foot wingspan and weighs just under a pound. He prefers calm, shallow water, and prefers to eat tiny fish, however he has also been known to consume insects, small amphibians, and small reptiles.

With slate blue feathers, a white belly, and an orange or grey beak that becomes blue during mating season, this bird is truly stunning. Although he appears to be black in the image on the left, his stunning blue feathers can be seen when he is in flight.

Although I refer to this specific bird as a male, there isn’t much distinction between the male and female in terms of looks. But the ladies are a little bit smaller.


The bottom flaps of the pelican’s large beaks stretch to retain water. Along Florida’s coastlines, these birds are commonly seen flying in formation. The robust bird is 3 to 4 feet in height and has a noticeable 6.5-foot wingspan.

Unlike brown pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis), which favor the ocean, the white pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) is an inland freshwater bird. To scoop up fish, pelicans plunge headfirst into the sea.

Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate spoonbills are owl-like birds that are just a little bit longer than great horned owls. Due to their enormous size and delicate pink feathers, these big birds look beautiful from a distance yet strange up close.

Roseate spoonbills consume crustaceans and other aquatic invertebrates that are rich in the carotenoids that give these birds their pink hue and cause their feathers to change that color.

If you decide to go looking for them, watch for flocks of pink birds, frequently with egrets and ibises nearby, feeding in the shallows of fresh and saltwater.

Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge is one of the best areas to watch roseate spoonbills in Florida.

They are predators that consume tiny fish, frogs, newts, crustaceans, and aquatic insects.

These birds’ topknot feathers will fall off as they age, much like it does to people.

The Limpkin

Even though he resembles herons and ibises greatly, the Limpkin is actually more closely linked to cranes or rails. This bird enjoys foraging for apple snails near fresh water. Its large, twisted beak, which resembles a pair of tweezers, is especially well suited for prying the snail from its shell.

Limkins usually leave a stockpile of intact snail shells behind, thus you can always tell when they have been close to a body of water. Apple snails make up virtually all of the Limpkin’s diet.

Living year-round in Florida, Southeastern Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Cuba, the Caribbean islands, and as far south as Argentina, Bolivia, and Peru, they like warm climates.

The Limpkin has a very unusual scream that has been called “one of the weirdest cacophonies in nature” when the males respond with their countercries. Despite being known as the “weeping bird” because of how sad and unsettling its call is, the Everglades and Florida are said to be represented by it.

The Limpkin has a wingspan of 40 to 42 inches, weighs around 2.3 pounds, and is over two feet tall. They were given this name because of the way they look to limp as they walk.

Wood Stork (Mycteria Americana)

This critically endangered bird has black leathery legs and white body feathers. The top neck and head are hairless. On the underside of the wings, a broad band of black feathers may be seen when the bird is flying. The wood stork has a height of 2 to 4 feet and a wingspan of 5 to 6 feet.

Common Loon

The biggest loon species found in Florida is the common loon, often known as the great northern diver. Alaska, Canada, and the northern US are where it breeds. They move south in the winter to spend the season in Florida’s coastal waters, where they remain through early April.

With its rounded head and dagger-like beak, this huge diving waterbird is simple to identify. The common loon is renowned for its hauntingly lovely sounds (the wail, tremolo, yodel, and hoot).

Adults have white breasts, black heads and bills, and black and white patches on their backs during the summer. The striking black and white hues of these loons’ winter plumage will be replaced by drab dark gray with white on the front of the neck and breast by the time they arrive in Florida.

Common loons are skilled divers that can silently dip beneath the surface to capture fish. They can submerge to depths of nearly 200 feet, remain there for up to five minutes, and consume their meal underwater.

Fish, crustaceans, insect larvae, mollusks, and rarely aquatic plants are the main food sources for common loons.

The duo may have children together for ten or more years since they are monogamous. The male and female will frequently defend a territory jointly.

The common loon is the bird of Ontario and Minnesota, respectively (Canada).

The Anhinga

This bird can fly and swim in the water! He frequently appears perched on a pier or a log, his wings spread out to dry in the sunlight. He is sometimes referred to as the Snake Bird because of how he seems to be a snake while immersed in water with his head and neck jutting out.

This magnificent bird has a wing span of around 4 feet and weighs about 3 pounds. His feathers have a stunning blue, black, and white color scheme.

The unfortunate Anhinga has a lot of nicknames! Anhingas are commonly referred to as Piano Birds because of the black and white stripes on their wing tips. He has also been called a Darter, a Water Crow, an American Darter, or a Water Turkey.

Anhingas enjoy standing dead trees near rivers, lakes, and moist, marshy marshes. This large bird frequently forages alone, roosts in groups, and builds colonies of nests. Clearly a snow bird who spends the most of the winter in the south. It adores Florida, southern Texas, and Mexico.

On branches jutting out of Lake Virginia, these birds are basking in the sun. You can see why the bird is called a “snake bird” in one of the pictures when his head is poking out of the water. The anhinga measures 18 inches in length and has a wingspan of around 3.7 feet.

When this bird enters your life, it symbolizes that you shouldn’t let your bad emotions control your life. The Anhinga also represents keeping one’s head above water. Therefore, if you’ve seen this bird, it should serve as a reminder to never let hardship win.