Aeroplanes may be very fast, but with the jet engines and superior fuel, it is no surprise that it can fly so fast. These birds, however, use only the power of their muscles and the skill to navigate air currents to achieve great speeds. In fact, the fastest bird is also the fastest living creature and this is a testament to the extent to which the ability of flight has evolved in birds to help them adapt to their conditions. Here is our list of the 10 fastest birds in the world.
Fastest Birds In The World
1. Peregrine Falcon
This is not only the fastest bird but also the fastest living creature on earth. It flies at great heights searching for prey which mainly consists of smaller birds and when it sees such a bird, it dives almost vertically, achieving great speeds to attack and kill its prey. Its greatest speed is achieved during this dive – reaching up to 242 miles per hour and the prey dies instantly because of the speed of the dive. The Peregrine Falcon is a very common predator found on all continents except Antarctica and is also kept as a pet or as a hunting bird.
2. Golden Eagle
This majestic bird is the largest raptor living in North America apart from being one of the fastest birds in the world. Like the Peregrine Falcon, it achieves its highest speed during a dive while catching prey. It is a large powerful bird which weighs about 7 kilos and has a wingspan of 2 to 3 metres. Because of the well-developed flight muscles, it can soar in the air for a long time searching the surroundings for prey. The Golden also find a place in the national emblem of the United States.
The Gyrfalcon is the largest species of falcon found in the world and is also a very skilled hunter. It dives from a great height to swoop down on the prey and has unbelievable control over the speed and direction of the dive. By altering the direction of the wings, it can increase or decrease its speed midway into the dive to increase its chances of catching prey. The peak speed of this bird is 130 miles per hour and it is also used as a hunting bird.
4. White throated Needletail
The needletail is a species of the Swift and lives in Siberia and some parts of Asia in the hilly and cold regions. It is one of the largest birds in the swift family and can reach a maximum speed of 105 miles per hour. It is also the fastest flying flapping bird since the other birds like falcons and eagles do not flap their wings continuously during flight and use the gliding technique. This is a migratory bird and during the winter travels to South Asia and Australia to escape the cold weather of the northern regions.
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5. Eurasian Hobby
This raptor is commonly found in many parts of the world like Africa, Europe and Asia in woodlands, beside rivers and in forests. Since it belongs to the falcon family, it has a similar body structure and hunting behaviour. It can reach a speed of 100 miles per hour and is known for its acrobatic dives and flying manoeuvres. The Hobby migrates great distances to go to South Asia and Central Africa during the winter.
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6. Frigate Bird
This is a large coastal strange looking bird living in the tropical regions of the world and is one of the fastest birds in the world. It has a large wingspan as compared to its body size and can stay in flight for almost a week at a stretch. It has a maximum speed of 95 miles per hour but cannot walk or hop well on land. Even if the prey is very nearby, the frigate bird glides and swoops to catch its prey.
7. Spur Winged Goose
The spur-winged goose is one of the largest waterfowl in Africa and weighs up to 7 kilos. It has a large wingspan that helps is achieve great speeds of up to 88 miles per hour. Despite its large size, it is the fastest goose in the world and this helps during its long winter migration.
8. Red Breasted Merganser
This bird is a diving duck that lives in North America and has a distinctively sharp red beak as well as tufts of feathers on its head. It has a large wingspan and it migrates to Alaska and Northern Canada during the winter. During this migration, it achieves a maximum speed of 81 miles per hour. In the winter, the merganser breeds near water bodies like lakes, marshes and wetlands in Northern Canada and the female lays about 10 eggs per year. After the chicks have hatched, this bird returns to the North American mainland.
9. Grey Headed Albatross
The albatross family consists of large coastal birds that are adept fliers and can travel great distances using their powerful wings and the wind conditions around them. The grey-headed albatross so named because of the bluish-grey head lives on the coast of the South Atlantic and can reach a top speed of 79 miles per hour. Its regular flight speed is well over 60 mph and it can fly long distances using the wind currents.
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This duck lives across North America mainly in marshes and swamps and has a maximum speed of 73 miles per hour making it one of the fastest birds in the world. It has a wingspan of 34 inches and is not a very large bird. It is famous for the V-shaped migration pattern it follows in its flight as a flock. Every year, it migrates to the Great Lakes in the winter and attains its maximum speed during this flight.
Have you ever imagined what it would be like to be able to fly this fast using nothing but your natural ability? The human fascination with flight has led to great inventions like aeroplanes and rockets and perhaps a deeper study will help us make this technology more environment-friendly and effective.