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The Scariest Types of Birds in the World

Updated July 27, 2020 3.1k votes 535 voters 20.4k views10 items

List RulesVote up the most terrifying species of bird you hope to never encounter in the wild.

Most people don't look at the different types of birds and think of them as dangerous. If they don't run into a pigeon, most folks don't interact with birds unless they are broken up, fried, and found in a bucket. That doesn't mean there aren't some dangerous birds out there more than capable of attacking and even killing humans. These creatures did evolve from dinosaurs after all, and while many are small and little to no threat, it's okay to fear birds—given they could swoop down and poo in your hair at any moment.

Aerial poop bombardment aside, many people are afraid of birds for a wide variety of reasons. Some are just more ugly than scary, and that stirs a primal fear response. Other, more beautiful birds are simply nasty in disposition and they won't stop before they peck your eyes out! Granted, that's not likely to happen, but you don't want to cross some of the scariest bird species out there.

Believe it or not, bird attacks on humans aren't rare, whether that's due to getting too close to their nest, perceiving us as a threat, or simply because they felt like seeing what your guts look like. Whatever their reason for attacking, it's best to let them be and enjoy watching them from a distance. Never forget... dinosaurs. They came from dinosaurs!

  • Photo: Akseli Niemelä / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    European Herring Gull

    Size: These gulls can get relatively large and grow up to 26 inches in length.

    Location: Primarily throughout northern Europe and as far north as the coast of Ireland.

    Distinguishing Features: Most are white with grey wings while some have darker feathers at their wingtips.

    Why You Should Be Scared: You're probably thinking that you have seen these birds all over the place thousands of times and they aren't a threat to anyone. While an individual bird is little more than a nuisance thanks to its lack of fear in stealing food from an unsuspecting person's hands, they represent a greater danger to aircraft. European Herring Gulls have been known to fly into jet engine intake manifolds, causing damage and even airline accidents.

    • Scientific Name: Larus argentatus
    Would you run from this bird?
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    Great Northern Loon

    Size: Typically, they reach a length of 36 inches with a wingspan of up to 58 inches.

    Location: North America, Greenland, Iceland, and Arctic Eurasia

    Distinguishing Features: Many examples feature white spots spread amongst darker plumage with a white underbelly.

    Why You Should Be Scared: One of the biggest threats derived from these birds comes from eating them. They are highly sought after by parasitic organisms including worms, flatworms, tapeworms, nematodes, spiny-headed worms, and others, which can cause any number of serious complications if ingested by a human. They have been known to spread avian malaria throughout bird populations and they can acquire botulism from eating infected fish. They are beautiful to look at, but be very careful eating one of these birds.

    • Scientific Name: Gavia
    Would you run from this bird?