We need supercars or superbikes to enjoy great speeds. But some birds are born as ultimate speed machines. The followings are 10 fastest birds in the world.
10 Canvasback – 73 mph
Canvasback is a diving duck that inhabits in Marshes and Swamps across North America. They have a wingspan of 34 inches. In flight, they could achieve a maximum speed of 73 mph. It’s a migratory bird. They start migration at the start of winter, towards the Great Lakes, located between the borders of U.S and Canada. They fly in a ‘V’ shaped formation while migrating.
9 Grey Headed Albatross – 78.9 mph
Grey headed albatross is a large seabird that breed main in the South Atlantic sector of Southern ocean. As the name indicates, they have a bluish grey head and neck and black grey tail. With 2.2 meter wingspan, the grey headed albatross can fly at maximum speed of 78.9 mph. During foraging they travel at normal speed of 68 mph without rest.
The wind conditions of Southern ocean have a huge influence on the flight speed of grey headed albatross. They take advantage of strong Antarctic storms to fly faster. In such conditions, the large wingspan of the grey headed albatross also helps them to make a well balanced flight.
8 Red Breasted Merganser – 81 mph
Red breasted merganser is a large diving duck. They found in large numbers in freshwater lakes and rivers across North America and Europe. The adult red-breasted merganser has a wingspan between 2.2-2.6 ft. Before the arrival of winter, they migrate towards Northern Canada and Alaska from the interior lands of North America. During this journey the red breasted mergansers achieve a maximum speed of 81 mph.
Great Lakes and marshes and wetlands of Northern Canada are the main breeding sites of red breasted merganser. To attract the female the male bird stretches his neck and make purring sound. The female bird will lay up to 10 eggs. The red breasted merganser mainly feed on fishes, crabs and shrimps.
7 Spur Winged Goose – 88 mph
Spur winged goose is a large waterfowl found in wetlands across Africa. They can have a length between 30-45 inches and weigh up to 7 kg. They also have a wingspan between 1.5-2 meters. With a maximum speed of 88 mph, the spur winged goose is the fastest goose in the world. The spur winged goose is the largest one in the family of perching ducks. Still, it can fly faster than any other perching ducks in the world.
6 Frigate Bird – 95 mph
Frigate bird is a large sea bird that can be found in tropical regions around the world. They have a wingspan of 2.3 meters. Compared to body weight ratio, frigate bird has the largest wingspan in the world. Frigate bird can achieve a maximum speed of 95 mph. They are also known to stay on air for a week. It is said to be the frigate bird only comes to land to rest and breed.
Unlike other fast birds, frigate birds can’t walk well on land, especially in seashores. To catch the preys such as flying fish, crabs and crustaceans the frigate birds glide in the air and pluck their prey at the right moment.
5 Eurasian Hobby – 100 mph
Eurasian hobby is a small member of the falcon family. They found in open woodlands, river edges and forests across Africa, Europe and Asia. Eurasian hobby is a long distant migrant bird. They migrate towards Central Africa and Southern Asia to spend the winter. They can fly at maximum speed of 100 mph. They are also known for rapid and acrobatic flight.
4 White-throated Needletail – 105 mph
White throated needletail is a large swift that inhabit in the rocky hills of Siberia and Asia. They are also known as spine tailed swift. At maximum speed of 105 mph, spine tailed swift is the fastest bird in flapping flight. They have long curved wings and powerful body. It help them to achieve exceptional speed in flight.
The spine tailed swift is a migratory bird. Before the start of winter they move towards South Asia and Australia. At the end of winter they return back to their breeding grounds.
3 Gyrfalcon – 130 mph
Gyrfalcons are known for their high speed dive and long pointed wings. Gyrfalcons are the largest falcon in the world. They can have a length between 20-24 inches and weight up to 1.3 kg. They dive steeply to catch the prey from great heights. During a dive, a gyrfalcon could reach a maximum speed of 130 mph. Gyrfalcons also has exceptional control over their speedy dive.
The dive of gyrfalcons includes many phases. They increase or decrease the speed by changing the position of their wings. The gyrfalcons have broad pointed wings. Their wingspan measures 50 inches in length from one tip to another.
2 Golden Eagle – 200 mph
Golden eagle is the largest raptor in North America. This powerful eagle has a length between 26-40 inches and weigh up to 7 kg. Golden eagles also have a wingspan 2.3 meters. They dive upon their prey from the great heights. During a dive, golden eagles can reach a maximum speed of 200 mph.
With the long, broad wings golden eagles can soar in the air for a long time. They also have a very strong vision and can spot the prey from great heights. Once a golden eagle spot its prey, the eagle dive upon the prey with an astonishing speed. With great speed of the dive and sharp talons they easily snatch up the prey. Golden eagles can also fly at an attitude of 10000-15000 feet.
1 Peregrine Falcon – 242 mph
With a top speed of 242 mph, peregrine falcon is the fastest living creature on Earth. It is a most common bird of prey that found in every continent except Antarctica. The adult peregrine falcon has long pointed wings with powerful muscles. It gives them exceptional speed in flight. The stiff feathers on their wings also avoid chances of drag by the wind.
The peregrine falcons display a spectacular stoop while hunting. They dive upon small birds from high. Normally the strike from peregrine falcons can kill its prey in no time due to the astonishing speed of dive. Unlike other birds the peregrine falcons have a strong heart and highly efficient lungs. So that their body gets enough oxygen supply even at the great speed they achieve during a dive.