List of birds by flight speed

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

This is a list of the fastest flying birds in the world. A bird's velocity is necessarily variable; a hunting bird will reach much greater speeds while diving to catch prey than when gliding. The bird with the greatest airspeed velocity is the Peregrine falcon, able to exceed 321.8 km/h (200 mph) in its hunting dives.[1][2] The greatest self-powered horizontal speed is achieved by Homing Racing Pigeons. They can fly 1100 km (700 miles) in a single day, and they have been recorded flying at 177 km/h (110 miles per hour), making them the birds with the fastest speed ever recorded on a self-powered flight, and the fastest endurance flight.

Birds by flight speed[edit]

Common name Image Species Family Average horizontal speed Maximum horizontal speed Average diving speed Maximum airspeed Flight
Peregrine falcon Peregrine Falcon La Cañada.jpg Falco peregrinus Falconidae 65–90 km/h[3]
40-56 mph
110 km/h[3]
68 mph
320 km/h (200 mph)[4] 389 km/h [5]
242 mph
High-speed dive—pointed long wings
Golden eagle Aquila chrysaetos USFWS.jpg Aquila chrysaetos Accipitridae 45–51 km/h[6]
28-32 mph
129 km/h[6]
80 mph
241 km/h [7]
150 mph
320 km/h[6]
200 mph
Grey-headed albatross Thalassarche chrysostoma - SE Tasmania.jpg Thalassarche Chrysostoma Diomedeidae 127 km/h[8][9][note 1]
78.9 mph
2.2m (7'2") wingspan allows for high power use from wind.
Gyrfalcon Falco rusticolus -Iceland -flying-8.jpg Falco rusticolus Falconidae 80–110 km/h 50-68 mph 145 km/h 90 mph[10] 187–209 km/h [11]
116-130 mph
209 km/h [11][12]
130 mph
High-speed dive—pointed long wings
White-throated needletail White-throated Needletail kobble jan05.jpg Hirundapus caudacutus Apodidae 169 km/h[13]

[note 2]
105 mph

169 km/h

105 mph

High-speed wings
Common swift Apus apus 01.jpg Apus apus Apodidae [14] 111.6 km/h[13]

69.3 mph

High-speed wings
Eurasian hobby Hobby (Falco subbuteo) (2).jpg Falco subbuteo Falconidae[15] Can sometimes outfly the swift as it eats them and catches them on the wing.
Frigatebird Magnificent-Frigate-male.jpg Fregata Fregatidae[16] 153km/h[17] Slow gliding/soaring high aspect ratio
Spur-winged goose Spur-winged Goose RWD4.jpg Plectropterus Anatidae[18] High-speed wings
Red-breasted merganser Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator) (11).JPG Mergus serrator Anatidae[19] High–aspect ratio wings
Canvasback Canvasaback (Aythya valisineria) RWD2.jpg Aythya valisineria Anatidae[20] High-speed wings
Eider Bristol.zoo.common.eider.arp.jpg Somateria mollissima Anatidae[21] High-speed wings
Teal Flickr - Rainbirder - EurasianTeal in flight (cropped).jpg Anas crecca Anatidae High–aspect ratio wings


  1. ^ Sustained ground speed for approximately nine hours with no rest on high tailwinds during an Antarctic storm.
  2. ^ The British Broadcast Corporation warns from taking this value too seriously, as the methods employed to measure it have never been published, rendering its verification difficult.


  1. ^ "Basic Facts About Peregrine Falcon". Defenders of Wildlife. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
  2. ^ U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (January 15, 2008). "All About the Peregrine Falcon". Department of the Interior. Archived from the original on 2008-04-16. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Fastest on Earth: Malik fuel". Extreme Science. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
  4. ^ "All about the Peregrine falcon". U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1999. Archived from the original on 16 April 2008. Retrieved 13 August 2007.
  5. ^ Tom Harpole (March 2005). "Falling with the Falcon". Air & Space magazine. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
  6. ^ a b c Kari Kirschbaum and Alicia Ivory (2002). "Aquila chrysaetosgolden eagle". The Animal Diversity Web. University of Michigan Museum of Zoology. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
  7. ^ "Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos". National Geographic Society. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
  8. ^ "Guinness Records - Fastest Bird Level Flight". Guinness World Records Limited. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
  9. ^ Catry, Paulo; Phillips, Richard (13 May 2004). "Sustained fast travel by a gray-headed albatross (Thalassarche chrysostoma) riding an antarctic storm". The Auk. doi:10.1642/0004-8038(2004)121[1208:SFTBAG]2.0.CO;2. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  10. ^ "Gyrfalcon - Animal Ark".
  11. ^ a b "Diving speeds and angles of a gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus)". 1998-07-01. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  12. ^ Tucker, VA; Cade TJ; Tucker AE. (July 1998). "Diving speeds and angles of a gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus)". J Exp Biol. 201 (Pt 13) (Pt 13): 2061–2070. PMID 9622578.[dead link]
  13. ^ a b Jody Bourton (2 March 2010). "Supercharged swifts take flight speed record". BBC Earth News. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
  14. ^ "swifts". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  15. ^ Hobby, Falco subbuteo
  16. ^ Animal Corner ; Sea Birds Frigate Bird Galapagos Sea Birds - The Great Frigate Bird and the Magnificent Frigate Bird
  17. ^ [1]
  18. ^ Free find Spur-Winged Goose Plectropterus gambensis - Kenya Birds
  19. ^ The cornell lab of Ornithology - Cornell University Bird Guide - Red-breasted Merganser
  20. ^ Ducks Unlimited - Wet-lands conversation Canvasback
  21. ^ Family XXXIX. ANATINAE. DUCKS. Family THE EIDER DUCK. [Common Eider.] Genus FULIGULA MOLLISSIMA, Linn. [Somateria mollissima.]

External links[edit]