Pelagornithidae is an extinct clade of birds characterized by bizarre tooth-like bony projections of the jaws. Here, the flight capabilities of pelagornithids are explored based on data from a species with the largest reported wingspan among birds. Pelagornis sandersi sp. nov. is represented by a skull and substantial postcranial material. Conservative wingspan estimates (∼6.4 m) exceed theoretical maximums based on extant soaring birds. Modeled flight properties indicate that lift:drag ratios and glide ratios for P. sandersi were near the upper limit observed in extant birds and suggest that pelagornithids were highly efficient gliders, exploiting a long-range soaring ecology.