It can be really complex to uncover the stories about bird speed. Let us start from the most interesting and welcoming question: who is the champion of flying? Some people have the answer says the peregrine falcon, as the average flying speeds of birds are 20-30 miles per hour, this bird is famous for its astonishing flying speed of 247 mph —— over 300 km (186 miles) per hour! Peregrine falcon is found throughout almost every continent besides Antarctica and some oceanic islands. As an excellent predator, it reaches the peak of speed when they are diving, and this speed makes it nearly impossible for prey to escape.

The speed of birds is tied to their survival, and other birds of different ecological niches are just as skilled in flight. Birds are varied by size and habits, so maybe it is unfair to focus on medium-sized preying birds. In the following contents, we will look into birds' speed closely, and qualify their flying ability by distinct dimensions.

Fastest small birds
The Bee Hummingbird, which is well-known as the smallest bird in the world, only measures about 2.2 inches (5.5 cm) in length and weighs less than 2 grams, also has wonderful flying ability. Bee Hummingbird can reach a speed of about 40-50 kilometers per hour, and stay in the air for up to 20 hours in its tiny body size without a break.

Every second, these small birds beat their wings about 80 times, and they can perform rapid aerial maneuvers includes hover and fly backwards. These extraordinary flying skills make them eligible to fly from flowers to flowers and access the deep side of plants when searching for nectar. According to their high metabolism, Bee Hummingbirds have to consume food frequently, so they have become very active flyer and spend more time in the air than most kinds of birds.

Fastest Long-Time Flyers
Peregrine Falcons reach their impressive speed when diving, but the Common Swifts can fly really quick in level flight. As one of the fastest birds in level flight, Common Swifts reach the speed of around 111 kilometers(69 miles!) per hour. Besides the speed, Common Swifts are the champion of continuous flight. Due to their amazing endurance, they can fly up to 10 months without landing. These flying masters can eat, drink, and even sleep when they stay airbrone. When they sleep, their brains will enter a state of unihemispheric slow-wave sleep, while one half of the brain sleeps, the other half remains awake. After leaving the nests, Juvenile Common Swifts may stay in the air almost three years before their first landing for the first breed.

To accelerate and endure, Common Swifts have long and narrow wings which can reduce drag and glide efficiently. And they catch prey in flight, since they feed on airborne insects and spiders. The reason they became masters of flight could be the need for long-distance migration. Common Swifts' breeding grounds are in Europe and Asia. After reproducing there in late summer and early autumn, they have to travel thousands of miles to sub-Saharan Africa for the winter.

These tough long-time flyers are facing threats from habitat loss and climate change. The renovation and demolition of old buildings reduce available nesting places, and the insect population changes will affect the survival of Common Swifts as well.

Fastest Running Bird 
The Ostrich(Struthio camelus) are not only the running champion, but also the largest living bird, standing up to 9 feet (2.7 meters) tall and weighing between 220 to 350 pounds (100 to 160 kilograms). To match with their big bodies, they have extra-size eyes, necks and legs. They are flightless, and they are capable of running 72 kilometers (45 miles) per hour! For long distance running, they can keep a steady speed about 48 to 56 kilometers (30 to 35 miles) per hour. The Ostrich are original to Africa, so they have sparse feathering and bare legs to help them regulate body temperature.

These big buddies have powerful legs with strong muscles and tendons that store and release energy efficiently. And their large two-toe feet are also suitable for running. Their strides cover up to 5 meters (16 feet). Even they are giant, the Ostriches are not preying birds. They are omnivores, which feeding on a variety of plants, seeds, insects, and small vertebrates. So they also apply their legs to give predators strong kicks. Besides, they also have keen eyesight and a wide field of vision, allowing them to detect threats from a distance.

Fastest Swimming Bird
Under the water, Gentoo Penguins found on the Antarctic Islands is the fastest bird. As wonderful hunters, they can swim 40 kilometers (22miles) per hour, and they can dive over 200 meters (656 feet), though most prey dives are shallower. Just like human sports superstars, Gentoo Penguins are really stylish. For the hair style, they have wide white stripes extending like a bonnet across its forehead. For the 'suits', there are unique long stiffs tail feathers stick out behind as they walk.

Their streamlined bodies might be the reason why they become the fastest swimming birds, and the strong flippers are vital as well. To keep themselves warm beneath the cold ocean, Gentoo Penguins have a layer of fat and dense feathers, which also make them adorable in looking. These birds are also highly social, and they use a variaty of calls to communicate.

As we had showed, the Peregrine Falcons (Falco peregrinus) enable to reach the speed up to 300 km (186 miles) per hour when they dive. This marbelous flying champion is not only the fastest bird, but also the fastest animal on the whole planet. They still can not fly as fast as airplane, but there is the famous story that the B-2 bomber is modeled based on it. This story is more metaphorical. However, the sleek and efficient bodyshape of Peregrine Falcons is highlighted.

They are also impressive in level flight. The Peregrine Falcon can fly at speeds of 64 to 89 kilometers (40-55 miles) per hour, and they apply hunting skills that hover high above and dive to assault prey in mid air. Their vision is about eight times better than human's, and their eyssight is also exceptional for spotting prey that far away. With their robust talons and beaks, Peregrine Falcons can kill the prey instantly with the aid of the force of the impact. Since they are impressive in speed and power, they are farmed and trained by people to falconry, and various cultures have favored them throughout history.

Here is the easter egg——who are the slowest-flying birds? Flying at high speed is great, but flying slowly needs excellent skill too. The American woodcock (Scolopax minor) and the Eurasian woodcock (S. Rusticola) can flying at 5 mph without stalling when they conduct courtship displays! Both of them have zigzagging flying patterns, which is helpful for evading predators and attracting partners.

Leave a comment