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Birds are an incredibly diverse animal group. This is certainly reflected in their flying abilities, as you can see in this short list of facts about bird flight.

Fastest bird: Peregrine Falcon diving at 117 mph (188 km/h). It is believed this bird may even reach speeds of up to 150 mph (240 km/hr). This makes the Peregrine Falcon the fastest animal on earth.

Fastest level flight: Red-breasted Merganser at 100 mph (161 km/h).

Fastest wingbeat: Hummingbirds (e.g., Amethyst Woodstar) at 90 beats per second.

Slowest wingbeat: Vultures at 1 beat per second.

Most aerial bird: Sooty Terns, who can spend 3 to 10 years in the air without landing.

Most aerial landbird: Common Swift, who can remain in the air for 3 years without landing.

Highest flying bird:  Ruppell’s Griffon Vulture at 7 miles, or 37,000 feet (11,274 m).

Longest two-way annual migration: Arctic Tern at 25,000 miles (40,200 km).


Source of these facts: The Bird Almanac, by Dr. David M. Bird