5 Birds With Abilities That Put Superheroes to Shame

#2. The Gannet Is the Juggernaut ... With an Air Bag

The gannet is a graceful if rather silly-looking seabird that lives a life similar to other marine birds ... or it would, if it wasn't for its secret superpower.

You see, the gannet differentiates itself from its peers with its hunting habits. Like many other seabirds that depend on fish for sustenance, it has a tendency to fly high and swoop down at its prey. Unlike other seabirds, though, it doesn't bother with things like "personal safety" or, for that matter, "terminal velocity." Gannets can -- and constantly do --- hit the water at speeds of up to 90 miles per hour. This is particularly impressive when you take into account the fact that the water's surface tension guarantees that hitting the sea at those speeds is not unlike slamming face first into a cement block.

Via blog.earth-touch.com
They're like bullets that can also shit on your windshield.

Reason dictates the impact should turn the bird into a feathery pancake supper for the very fish it tried to catch. Yet the gannet smashes right through both the sea surface and our puny laws of physics. It accomplishes this by having an extra-thick, helmet-like skull that is able to withstand impact. And, just because you just can never be invulnerable enough when playing kamikaze for a living, the bird further overcompensates with special airbags in its neck and shoulders. These can be inflated at will to absorb impacts that would kill just about any other animal. In fact, the gannet tends to hit the water so fast it won't even need to painstakingly snatch at the fish with its beak -- it just stuns them on impact. Then, if it's still hungry, it just repeats the whole death drop again. And again.

So yes, what we have here is potential for a hero that can take a beating like no other. Imagine him dive-tackling a running criminal from a nearby rooftop, and then smashing through a brick wall, totally unfazed. You can punch him all you want. He's got a facial airbag and a skull like a rock. The Gannet scoffs at your puny attacks.

Then comes at you head first, at 90 miles per hour.

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And it brought friends.

#1. The Ostrich Is a Super-Kicking T-Rex

The ostrich is an ugly creature, but luckily fighting crime isn't a pretty business. This 300-pound bird brings in a hefty bulk and the ability to run at speeds of 60 miles per hour. Big deal, right? It's kinda fast, sure, but there are other animals, namely cheetahs, that can easily exceed that. But the thing is, cheetahs aren't known for their stamina, and in fact run out of gas almost instantaneously. The ostrich, on the other hand, can keep going for half an hour. Still, that alone wouldn't be enough for this list.

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"Shit, dude, is that a cop behind us?"

Because as handy as super speed may be, when you're fighting crime with a name like "The Mighty Ostrich," sometimes you've got to stand up to the enemy and fight back. So let's talk about its horrifying giant bird claws, and how it can fire them at you hard enough to pulverize your organs.

On their own, the ostrich's foot talons, at a "mere" 4 inches, leave something to be desired when facing evildoers such as Harpy Eagle up there. But ostriches also possess two finger claws on the end of each wing to give it extra options for attack, and those foot claws are going to be delivered with the horrifying power of the Ostrich Kick.

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In the 1920s, this would be considered porn.

You can already get a hint at how powerful this thing's legs are (that is, it weighs 300 pounds and can run like the wind), and to utilize said legs for maximum fatal kicking power, its knees bend forward, turning them into jackhammers capable of killing a freaking lion with a single kick.

So, how does this translate to the superhero realm? One, gaining ostrich powers means your uniform requires some seriously creative tailoring, and two, said powers give you the ability to kick directly forward with a force of 2,000 freaking pounds per square inch. To put that in context, a professional heavyweight boxer can hit at some 800 pounds per square inch. So the Ostrich Kick is the equivalent of roughly 2.5 Mike Tysons delivering their best knockout punch, in the same spot, at the exact same time. Except instead of a nice, soft boxing glove, the whole of the impact will be delivered with those 4-inch talons. Did you forget about those? The ostrich didn't.

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And it can remind you by reducing your lungs to their atomic components.

Really, the only problem with ostrich powers is the stupid ass name/costume you'd be stuck with. Although ... perhaps even that can be helped, seeing as research suggests the ostrich is more or less directly related to none other than the Tyrannosaurus rex.

For more superhero animals, check out 7 Dogs That Accomplished More Than We Ever Will and 8 Animals With Real Superpowers.

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