Relative to its body size which bird lays the largest egg?

The Answer:

Birds are peculiar animals. They lay eggs like reptiles but have endothermic body heat like mammals. Their eggs are wonders of our universe. A living being is formed from a small, fragile, nondescript egg filled with fluid. This process is wonderfully complex. Eggs are also incredibly nutritious. An egg has a very high amount of protein for the number of calories it contains. It also has very healthy fats. The part of the fluid that will eventually mainly form into the brain of the bird contains this fat.

Eggs have been a presence in meals and food stores for thousands of years. Some of the earliest records of bird domestication date as far as 1400 B.C. in ancient China and Egypt. Eggs are prepared in a multitude of different ways – scrambled, over easy, medium, sunny side up, and many, many more. Birds lay different types of eggs – obviously each species egg will be somewhat unique. One of the defining features of an egg – besides the pattern on the outside – is its size. Get the right type of bird, and you may get a bigger egg, giving you more bang for you buck, so to speak. If the average size of an egg from a certain type of bird is bigger, then that means more food, which, especially a few hundred years ago, was very important.

After talking about this, the question arises, what type of bird lays the biggest egg? This question is rather easy to answer. On average, the ostrich lays the biggest egg in the world. But this presents a different type of problem. It is not feasible to keep hundreds of ostriches around simply for their eggs. They eat too much and require a ton of space to live and move around in. Ostriches are a bad option for farming eggs.

Perhaps a better question would be, what bird lays the largest egg relative to its body size? Ostriches weigh in at an average of 140 kilograms. Their eggs, of which they do not lay many, weigh about 1.4 kilograms. This is only 1% of their total body weight, a miniscule amount for how much food and care these birds require. This terrible ratio clearly counts the ostrich out.

The chicken, which is easily the most common domesticated bird, has an average weight of 7.5 pounds. Its egg weighs roughly two ounces. This is less than 1% of a chicken’s total body weight! So, the chicken is a not a viable answer to this question.

The answer is actually not a very well-known bird! The kiwi, weighing in at 1.8 kilograms, lays a egg that weights about 0.45 kilograms. This is 25% of a kiwi’s weight! The male actually is the one to incubate and take care of the egg after the female lays it. It does so in a moss-lined nest in the kiwi’s burrow. The egg has a very long incubation period of 75 to 80 days. This is partially due the eggs size but is also just something inherent to the kiwi species.

Birds are fascinating creatures that surround us in our everyday lives. Here are some products to help educate yourself on birds and maybe a little bit closer to these fascinating animals:

Product
Visual
Where to Buy
Perky-Pet 325S Panorama Bird Feeder
Life of Birds
National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds: Eastern Region, Revised Edition