Top 10 List:
The World's Fastest Birds
[more Top-10 Lists]
It is commonly asked which bird is the fastest, and the answer can vary depending on who you ask, and what is measured. The answer will vary if you consider the maximum speed, average speed or speed while diving.
Fastest Gravity Assisted
Many people think that the fastest bird is the Peregrine Falcon, which is the true if you are looking at gravity aided flight while diving. When in its hunting dive, the stoop, the Peregrine Falcon is not only the fastest moving bird, it is the fastest animal on the planet. It first soars to a great height, then dives steeply at speeds of over 200 mph. However, it does not make the top ten list below which is based on speeds when travelling in level flight.
In 2011 the great snipe was tracked from Sweden to central Africa, and found to fly non-stop over a distance of around 6,760 km (4,200 miles) at a 97 km/hr (60 mph). There may be other birds who are quicker, but are yet to be accurately tracked.
Fastest Level Flying
The following list is based on the travelling speed when measured in level flying. The info is from several sources and you may find other contradicting lists elsewhere. The top of this list, the Spine-tailed swift, obviously gets its name 'swift' for being so fast.
|Bird||max. recorded speed (km/h)||max. recorded speed (mph)|
|1.||Spine-tailed swift, also known as the White-throated Needletail (scientific name: Hirundapus caudacutus)||171||106|