Birds belong to the group of endothermic vertebrates. They are distinguished by feathers, hard-shelled egg-laying, toothless beaked jaws, a four-chambered heart, a high metabolic rate, and a strong yet lightweight skeleton.
In this article, we will be listing some of the fastest birds in the world.
Table of Contents
- 1. Peregrine Falcon – 242mph
- 2. Golden Eagle – 150/200mph
- 3. White-throated Needletail – 105mph
- 4. Eurasian Hobby – 100mph
- 5. Frigate Bird – 95mph
- 6. Rock dove (pigeon) – 92.5mph
- 7. Spur-winged Goose – 88mph
- 8. Red-Breasted Merganser – 80mph
- 9. Gyrfalcon – 80mph
- 10. Grey Headed Albatross – 78.9mph
- 11. Canvasback – 73mph
- 12. Eider – 70mph
- 13. Teal – 68mph
- 14. Anna’s Hummingbird – 61.02mph
- 15. Ostrich – 60mph
1. Peregrine Falcon – 242mph
The peregrine falcon is known as the fastest bird in the world, with a top speed of 242 mph. It zooms at not-too-shabby speeds averaging 25 to 34 mph (40 – 55 km/h) while on a level flight.
But it is when this bird goes after prey that its spectacular abilities really appear. The peregrine soars to great heights, then sinks into a deep dive at speeds up to 242 mph (389 km/h), called stooping.
To put that in context, a cheetah can routinely hit speeds of up to 70 mph (112 km/h), and a greyhound can reach 45 mph (72 km/h).
One of the most prevalent birds of prey, peregrine falcons are present on all continents except Antarctica. For years, they have been prepared for hunting.
In the United States, in 1970, the American and Arctic peregrine falcon subspecies were listed as endangered.
Then they are later recovered after restrictions on DDT and other pesticides, and because of captive breeding programs, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service reports.
2. Golden Eagle – 150/200mph
The biggest raptor in North America is the golden eagle. The length of this mighty eagle is about 26 – 40 inches and weighs up to 7 kg.
They are also known to have a wingspan of 2.3 meters. From great heights, they dive upon their prey. Golden eagles are said to reach a maximum speed of 200 mph during a dive.
The golden eagle dives at speeds of more than 150 mph (241 km/h) while preying on ground squirrels, prairie dogs, and rabbits; making them one of the fastest birds in the world.
To capture their prey, golden eagles use their huge talons and have even been known to take down livestock and deer. The golden eagles were once hunted and feared by ranchers, but they are now protected by law.
3. White-throated Needletail – 105mph
The white-throated needletail is a large swift that inhabits Siberia and Asia’s rocky hills. They are sometimes referred to as spine tailed swifts.
The spine-tailed swift is the fastest bird in flapping flight at top speeds of 105 mph. It is among the fastest birds. They have long, curved wings, and they have sturdy legs. This allows them to attain exceptional speed in flight.
The spine-tailed swifts are referred to as a migratory bird. They are going towards South Asia and Australia before the start of winter. They return to their breeding grounds at the end of winter.
4. Eurasian Hobby – 100mph
The Eurasian hobby, one of the fastest birds in the world, is a tiny member of the falcon family.
They can have been found throughout Africa, Europe, and Asia in open woodlands, forests, and river edges. The Eurasian Hobby is a long-distance migratory bird.
To spend the winter, they migrate towards Central Africa and Southern Asia, at a top speed of 160km/h (100 mph). They are known for swift and acrobatic flight as well.
5. Frigate Bird – 95mph
The Frigate Bird is a large sea bird that can be found around the world in tropical regions. They have a 2.3-meter wingspan.
The frigate bird has the world’s largest wingspan compared to bodyweight ratio. A top speed of 153km/h (95 mph) can be reached by the Frigate Bird.
It is also known that they could remain on the air for a week. The frigate bird is said to only come to land to rest and breed.
The frigate birds, unlike other fast birds, can’t walk well on land, particularly on seashores. The frigate birds glide into the air to capture prey such as flying fish, crabs, and crustaceans and pluck their prey at the right moment.
6. Rock dove (pigeon) – 92.5mph
We can hardly move around these selfish creatures in European capital cities. Away from Trafalgar Square, however, pigeons are one of the fastest birds in the world.
They’re not just fast. Pigeons over a long distance are fast. The winning pigeon was documented flying at an average of 148. 9 km/h (92.5mph) in one race, above 640 km.
Pigeons can look fat and lazy sometimes, but they can do more than four continuous hours of 149 km/h.
7. Spur-winged Goose – 88mph
Spur-winged goose is a large waterfowl found in wetlands all over Africa. They can be between 30-45 inches in length and weigh up to 7 kg.
They have a wingspan of between 1.5-2 meters as well. With a top speed of 88 mph, the spur-winged goose is considered the fastest goose in the world. Spur-winged goose is the largest in the perching duck family.
It could fly faster than any other perching ducks in the world; making it one of the fastest birds in the world.
8. Red-Breasted Merganser – 80mph
Red-breasted merganser is a large diving duck and has been found in large numbers in rivers and freshwater lakes throughout North America and Europe. The adult red-brown merganser has a wingspan of 2.2 to 2.6 ft.
They migrate from the interior of North America to Northern Canada and Alaska before the arrival of winter. On this journey, the red-breasted mergansers hit a maximum speed of 129km/h (80 mph).
Northern Canada’s Great Lakes and marshes and wetlands are the primary breeding grounds for red-breasted merganser. The male bird stretches its neck and makes a purring sound to attract the female.
The female bird is going to lay up to 10 eggs. Red-breasted merganser feed primarily on fish, shrimp, and crabs.
9. Gyrfalcon – 80mph
Gyrfalcons are known for their long pointed wings and high-speed diving. The biggest falcon in the world is the Gyrfalcon.
They can be about 20-24 inches in length and up to 1.3 kg in weight. A gyrfalcon can attain a top speed of 129km/h(80 mph) during a dive. Gyrfalcons also have excellent control over their rapid diving.
There are several stages in the diving of gyrfalcons. By changing the location of their wings, they increase or decrease the speed. There are broad pointed wings in the Gyrfalcons.
From one tip to another, their wingspan measures 50 inches in length.
10. Grey Headed Albatross – 78.9mph
Grey-headed albatross is a large seabird that breeds primarily in the Southern Atlantic area of the Southern Ocean.
As the name suggests, they have a blue-grey head and neck and a black grey tail. With a wingspan of 2.2 meters, the grey albatross can fly at a top speed of 78.9mph. They fly at a standard speed of 68 mph without rest during foraging.
The wind conditions of the Southern Ocean have a major effect on the flight speed of the grey albatross. The grey-headed albatross take advantage of the strong Antarctic storms to travel faster.
In such cases, the large wingspan of the grey-headed albatross also allows them to make a well-balanced flight.
11. Canvasback – 73mph
Canvasback is a diving duck that occupies Marshes and Swamps throughout North America. It has a wingspan of 34 inches.
They could reach a top speed of 116km/h (73 mph) in flight; making it one of the fastest birds in the world. They begin migration at the start of winter, to the Great Lakes, situated between the borders of the United States and Canada.
They fly in a ‘V’ shaped formation when migrating.
12. Eider – 70mph
The Eider Duck is a large duck from the sea. The habitat of the duck can be found in northern Europe, North America up to eastern Siberia.
The eider duck can reach a top speed of 113km/h (70 mph) in flight. The adult Eider duck measures 50-71 cm in length. Since the bird is a coastal-bird, it migrates south every winter.
13. Teal – 68mph
Teal (also known as Eurasian green-winged teal or common teal) is a widespread and common duck that originates from the temperate Eurosiberia region and migrates in winter to the south.
It is a tiny duck with wings that are 53-59 cm wide. It has a maximum airspeed of 109 km/hr (68 mph). Teals typically gather in large blocks as they migrate to frighten predators.
14. Anna’s Hummingbird – 61.02mph
For short distances during mating dives, this little critter can fly at 98.27km/h (61.02 mph). The fact alone is amazing, but by body lengths per second, this hummingbird is a strong contender for the fastest vertebrate.
In contrast, the space shuttle reentering the atmosphere flies at about 207 bl/s. It will have to orbit the entire world in about an hour for a blue whale to equal the relative velocity of this hummingbird.
15. Ostrich – 60mph
Ostrich is comfortably the fastest mammal on two legs, running at 96.6 km/h (60 mph). And it seems they enjoy racing.
The ostrich is one of the fastest birds in the world. We can also see these flightless birds sprinting across the savannah with their unusual gait on ostrich farms.
Oudtshoorn is believed to be home to 98 percent of the world’s ostrich in South Africa, although these are farmed ostrich.