The cheetah is the fastest animal on land with a record speed of 68 to 75 mph. However, the fastest bird, Peregrine Falcon, can fly at a speed twice the speed of a cheetah. Several birds can fly faster than most of the land and marine animals, as their flights are often assisted by gravity which helps them to attain astronomical speeds. The wing muscles and feathers further assist the birds. The speed helps the birds in hunting and evading their predators, and also assists in migration during winter. Below is a list of some of the fastest flying birds in the world.
5. Eurasian Hobby
Eurasian Hobby is a member of the falcon family found in open woodlands, along the river bed, and forests across Africa, Europe, and Asia. It has a distinct first-summer plumage with the adult bird measuring 11 to 14 inches in length and weighing about 175 grams. Eurasian hobby is a long distant migrant bird which migrates towards Central Africa and Southern Asia during winter. It can reach a maximum flight speed of about 100 miles per hour. It is also popular for rapid and acrobatic flight enabling it to take swallows and swifts on the wing.
4. White-throated Needletail
White-throated needletail is a large swift found in the rocky hills of Siberia and Asia. The bird is short-legged and uses the legs to cling to a vertical surface. It is also known as needle-tailed swift or spine-tailed swift. At a maximum speed of 105 mph, white-throated needletail is the fastest bird in flapping flight. The strong, powerful body and the long curved wings enable the bird to achieve exceptional speed in flight. White-throated needletail is a migratory bird moving towards the South Asia and Australia before the start of winter and return to its breeding ground after winter.
The Gyrfalcon is the largest of the falcon species that breeds in the Arctic coast and Tundra, and the northern islands of North America, Europe, and Asia. A mature bird measures 20 to 24 inches in length and weighs 1.7 to 2.9 pounds. The bird is known for high-speed dive and long pointed wing. It dives steeply to catch a prey from great heights and attains a speed of up to 130 mph during the dive. It also takes an exceptional control over its body during the dive. Gyrfalcon’s dive comes in several stages and can increase or decrease the speed by changing the wing position.
2. Golden Eagle
The golden eagle is a bird of prey common in the Northern Hemisphere and a widely distributed species of eagle. It is the largest raptor in North America. The golden eagle measures between 26 and 40 inches when fully grown and weighs up to 14 pounds. It has a wingspan of 5 to 7 feet. The bird can dive upon its prey from a great height and can reach a maximum speed of 200 mph during the dive. The golden eagle can soar for a long time in the air and have a very strong vision making it able to spot a prey from a great height. Once it spots its prey, the golden eagle dives with great speed and snatches up the prey using its strong talons.
1. Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon is the fastest living creature on earth. It is a common bird of prey found in all the continents except in Antarctica. A mature peregrine falcon has long pointed wings with powerful muscles that give it an exceptional speed in flight. The wings have stiff feathers which prevent the bird from being dragged by the wind. Peregrine falcon can attain a maximum speed of 242 mph. It displays a spectacular stoop while hunting and dive upon its prey from high speed. Because of the high speed, the strike from the bird can kill its prey instantly. The bird has efficient lungs and strong heart enabling its body to get oxygen sufficient for the body during the great speed.