7 Birds With Big Eyes

Birds With Big Eyes
Photo by Lenstravelier on Unsplash

Birds with big eyes have always captured our fascination and admiration.

While owls are commonly associated with having large eyes, it’s intriguing to discover that all birds possess relatively big eyes relative to the size of their heads and bodies. 

Some birds, however, take this characteristic to the extreme, displaying eyes that appear massive in proportion to their small frames.

Let’s go on with this article as I explain the types of birds with big eyes.

1. Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon
by USFWS Headquarters is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Peregrine Falcon is one of the birds with big eyes that is known for its incredible speed and striking appearance.

When discussing birds with big eyes, the Peregrine Falcon certainly stands out. These magnificent creatures possess big, beautiful black eyes that command attention.

The yellow, leathery textured eye ring surrounding them makes their eyes even more prominent, creating a captivating contrast.

These birds are known for their incredible speed, reaching diving speeds of up to 240 miles per hour, with some even claiming speeds of 260 miles per hour.

Such extraordinary speed allows them to be among the fastest animals in the world.

The large black eyes of the Peregrine Falcon are aesthetically pleasing and serve an important purpose.

They provide these birds with exceptional visual acuity, allowing them to spot their prey precisely while soaring through the skies.

With their keen eyesight and remarkable hunting skills, Peregrine Falcons are formidable predators, often targeting small to medium-sized birds in flight.

2. Rock Kestrel

Rock Kestrel
by Hari K Patibanda is licensed under CC BY 2.0

When discussing birds with big eyes, the Rock Kestrel certainly deserves recognition. Despite its small body size, this predatory bird possesses giant eyes that add to its charm and cuteness.

Like the Peregrine Falcon, the Rock Kestrel boasts large black eyes surrounded by a distinctive mustard yellow eye ring.

These striking eyes enhance the bird’s appearance and serve a vital purpose in its survival.

The Rock Kestrel relies on its exceptional eyesight to locate prey and navigate its environment effectively.

Despite its relatively diminutive stature, the Rock Kestrel is an adept predator. With its keen vision and agility, it can spot small mammals, insects, and other potential prey from a distance.

The large eyes of the Rock Kestrel allow for improved depth perception and a wider field of view, enabling it to target and capture its prey precisely.

3. Common Ostrich

Common Ostrich
by Derek Keats is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Common Ostrich, known for its impressive size and unique characteristics, also possesses eyes that deserve recognition among birds with big eyes.

While most eagles and owls have eyes similar to human eyes, the eyes of the Common Ostrich are approximately two times larger, making them the largest of any land animal.

In fact, the Common Ostrich holds the Guinness World Record for having the largest eye among all land creatures.

These eyes are even larger than a horse’s or a moose’s and are even bigger than the ostrich’s own brain, which is about the size of a walnut.

The size of their eyes contributes to their visual capabilities and enhances their survival in their natural habitat.

The large eyes of the Common Ostrich serve several important functions. Firstly, they allow the ostrich a wider field of view, enabling it to scan its surroundings for potential threats and food sources.

This increased peripheral vision is particularly useful for a large, flightless bird like the ostrich, as it needs to be constantly vigilant for predators.

Additionally, the big eyes of the ostrich facilitate improved depth perception, which is crucial for their survival in their dynamic environments.

This depth perception helps them accurately judge distances, allowing them to navigate their surroundings and avoid obstacles precisely.

It also aids in spotting potential prey or detecting movements that may indicate danger.

Furthermore, the large eyes of the ostrich enable them to gather more light, enhancing their vision in various lighting conditions.

This adaptation is especially advantageous during the ostrich’s foraging activities, as it allows them to spot food sources more easily, even in low-light conditions.

4. Potoo Bird

Potoo Bird
by Ben Tavener is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Potoo Bird is one of the fascinating birds with big eyes that deserve attention. Regarding its facial features, the Potoo Bird’s face is mostly of its bulging yellow eyes, leaving very little space for its toad-like beak.

The size of its eyes relative to its head gives the Potoo Bird a unique and captivating appearance.

With its large eyes, the Potoo Bird possesses exceptional visual capabilities. These eyes let the bird see its surroundings and contribute to its hunting and survival strategies.

Interestingly, the Potoo Bird has odd slits on its eyelids, allowing it to sense movement even when its eyes are closed.

This adaptive feature helps it detect potential threats or prey in its environment.

The large size of its eyes allows for an increased field of vision, enhancing its ability to scan the surroundings for prey and predators.

With its sharp eyesight, the Potoo Bird can locate insects and small vertebrates even in low-light conditions, thanks to its specialized night vision adaptations.

5. Philippine Eagle

Philippine Eagle
by shankar s. is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Philippine Eagle is not only one of the largest eagles in the world but also stands out for its remarkably big eyes.

With its big pale blue eyes, the Philippine Eagle possesses a piercing gaze that adds to its striking appearance.

The size of its eyes corresponds to the bird’s substantial body, showcasing the relationship between its impressive size and its remarkable visual capabilities.

As an apex predator, the Philippine Eagle’s large eyes contribute to its hunting prowess.

The bird relies heavily on its exceptional eyesight to locate prey from great distances and execute successful hunting strategies.

Its big eyes allow for a wider field of vision, enabling it to scan the surrounding landscape for potential prey, such as monkeys, which are known to be a part of its diet.

The Philippine Eagle’s impressive eyesight is vital in its survival and hunting techniques. Its keen vision allows the bird to spot small movements or prey from a considerable distance.

This, coupled with its powerful beak and strong talons, makes it an efficient predator in its natural habitat.

6. Owls


Owls, known for their enigmatic and captivating appearance, are undoubtedly birds with big eyes.

In the avian world, owls are renowned for having some of the largest eyes relative to their body size.

While their eyes may appear round, they do not have traditional eyeballs. Instead, owls have eye tubes that cannot move around like human eyeballs do.

This unique adaptation means that owls must turn their heads to look around and have the remarkable ability to rotate their heads up to 270 degrees.

The size of an owl’s eyes serves a crucial purpose in their nocturnal lifestyle. Owls are primarily nocturnal hunters, and their big eyes enable them to excel in low-light conditions.

These large eyes allow more light to enter, maximizing their visual acuity in the dark.

The increased size of the eyes also means a larger surface area for photoreceptor cells, including rods, which are responsible for detecting light and aiding in night vision.

Consequently, owls have exceptional low-light vision, allowing them to locate prey with remarkable precision even in dimly lit environments.

Owls are skilled hunters, relying on their keen eyesight to detect small prey movements from a considerable distance.

Their precise vision allows them to pinpoint their targets and execute swift, silent strikes.

7. Spotted Thick Knee

Spotted Thick Knee
by shankar s. is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Spotted Thick Knee is a unique bird with big eyes known for its massive bright yellow eyes, which are easily recognizable from a distance.

Despite its slender legs and small body, this species has enormous eyes that give it a charming and endearing appearance.

The large size of its eyes is particularly striking in proportion to its overall body size.

The Spotted Thick Knee’s distinct features go beyond its big eyes. It has a fascinating clumsy gait, with knock-kneed legs, adding charm and charisma.

The combination of its enormous eyes and peculiar walk make this bird incredibly captivating and appealing to birds. These captivating eyes serve an important purpose for the Spotted Thick Knee.

Their large size allows for enhanced visual acuity, enabling the bird to spot potential prey or detect movement from a distance.

With their keen eyesight, Spotted Thick Knees can quickly locate insects, small reptiles, or other invertebrates that make up their diet.

Spotted Thick Knees possess other adaptations that contribute to their survival.

They have mottled plumage that provides excellent camouflage against their natural habitat, which includes grasslands, savannas, and open woodlands.

This camouflage, combined with their sharp eyesight, allows them to blend seamlessly into their surroundings, making it easier to spot prey and avoid potential predators.


Birds with big eyes are truly remarkable creatures. While owls often come to mind as the birds with the biggest eyes, it’s important to note that all birds have relatively large eyes compared to the size of their heads and bodies.

Some birds, such as ostriches, have eyes that are as much as double the size of our own.

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