We have much more to do and your continued support is needed now more than ever.
6 Birds That Are Champion Flyers
Today marks the anniversary of Amelia Earhart’s solo flight across the Pacific. It seemed only appropriate to compile a few birds with record flights and champion abilities. Like Amelia, these birds are nothing short of impressive. Which avians would you add to the list?
Farthest Annual Migration: Arctic Tern
These migratory marvels travel the longest total distance per year of any animal. Arctic terns have been known to fly nearly 50,000 miles (stops included) annually.
Longest Nonstop Flight: Bar-tailed Godwit
Bar-tailed godwits fly over the entire length of the Pacific ocean, making them the champions of long-distance nonstop flight. They’ve been documented flying nearly 8,000 miles one way!
Fastest (Gravity Assisted) Flight: Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine falcons are the fastest dive-bombing birds. When they stoop to catch prey, they reach speeds of up to 200 miles (320 km) per hour!
Fastest (Level) Flight: Grey-headed Albatross
Though there is tough competition in this category, the grey-headed albatross holds the official Guinness World Record for horizontal flight speed at 78.9 miles (127 km) per hour.
Acrobatic Flight: Hummingbird
With their diving, darting and backward flight, hummingbirds are aerial delights and champions of acrobatic flight.
First Songbirds Tracked Through Entire Migration
Back in 2007, scientists attached geolocators to 20 purple martins in northern Pennsylvania. Two of those purple martins returned the following year, becoming the first songbirds ever tracked through their entire migration.
How to Help
If you feel inspired to get involved to help these champion flyers, here are a few ideas how to get started:
- Purple martins are declining in parts of their range. You can help by building and adding a nest box to your yard.
- Symbolically adopt a peregrine falcon or ruby-throated hummingbird.
- Read more about America’s most amazing migrations and other migratory marvels.
- Attract hummingbirds to your yard with these tips.
- Support our work to protect migratory birds and other wildlife by becoming a member of the National Wildlife Federation.