Which bird has the longest legs?

Birds. Aren’t they cool? They’ve got beaks and feathers and wings and legs. Some birds are larger, like the ostrich, and others are smaller, like the hummingbird, but what do all birds have in common? Legs. They all have legs, like humans. And, like humans, bird legs have different lengths but which one has the longest legs?

To start answering this question, I can only assume that larger birds will generally have longer legs. The largest bird I can think of off the top of my head is the ostrich, which are indeed the largest birds in the world, according to Ostrich Facts, a page dedicated entirely to facts about ostriches.

Ostriches are bigger than any other bird in the world. They can grow up to 9 feet (2.7 meters) tall and can weigh up to 320 lbs.

Alina Bradford, Live Science

From the same article I only learn that an ostrich can grow up to 9 feet, but I learn nothing about the length of these creatures’ legs — a true shortcoming of Alina Bradford’s research into these magnificent creatures. To solve this mystery we must look at ostriches: 


Using a ruler, the black ostrich on the left is 7.7 centimeters from head to toe. Then I measure the leg that’s closest to the foreground. It’s 3.6 centimeters long, so doing some math, assuming the ostrich has fulfilled its potential of a 9 foot height, its leg is 4.23 feet or 1.29 meters, almost exactly as long as what Longboarding Nation considers to be a long longboard — quite impressive.

Who can compete against the ostrich and its large legs? To find more contenders, I search the World Wide Web for “large birds” and learn that the next largest bird is the cassowary, which appear to be the ostrich’s shorter fatter cousin, but its legs seem quite promising. Some female cassowaries can achieve heights of up to 2 meters. Here’s a picture of a cassowary:

Southern Cassowary

Using the same mathematical principles to figure out the cassowary’s leg to height ratio, I determine that, assuming a height of 2 meters, this cassowary’s legs are a tad shorter than a short longboard — much less than the long longboard-sized legs of our ostrich.

The next largest bird is the emu, which looks like an overgrown chicken. I’ll cut to the case: its legs can get to be as long as a nickel board, as defined by Review Longboards. This pales in comparison to the ostrich’s elegant and long legs.

One of my favorite birds, the emperor penguin, is our fourth largest bird. However, thinking about what a penguin looks like, I can assume that it won’t be making a lists for longest bird legs (except for this one, which it’s only in to point out the fact that it has short legs). The emperor penguin’s legs aren’t even as long as the penny board, the shortest of skateboards, quite far behind any of our other contenders.

There seems to be no point in looking further: the ostrich not only has the largest leg to height ratio but also has the longest absolute leg length of any bird with the length of a long longboard.

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