Q:

How high can birds fly?

A:

Quick Answer

The Ruppell's vulture, the highest-flying bird, can fly as high as 37,000 feet. The common crane and bar-headed goose have been observed flying over the Himalayas at heights of 33,000 feet and 29,000 feet, respectively.

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Full Answer

The whooper swan flies at 27,000 feet. An alpine chough was observed at Mount Everest flying at 26,500 feet. Mallards have been seen as high as 24,000 feet high; one mallard struck a commercial airline in Nevada at 21,000 feet. Although these observations are commonly made by mountain climbers, high-flying birds are increasingly spotted by radar or airplane pilots. Nocturnal migrating birds, such as shorebirds, fly at night over the ocean at 15,000 to 20,000 feet, according to the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center. When migrating, the bar-tailed godwit flies at 20,000 feet, and the white stork flies at 16,000 feet.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Why can birds fly?

    A:

    According to Birds in Backyards, birds can fly because every part of their anatomy has evolved to enhance flight. In order for a bird to fly, it must be lightweight. Therefore, birds have evolved lightweight hollow bones which resemble a honeycomb, making them strong yet light. In addition, birds have fewer organs and no teeth, and they use a gizzard to grind up their food.

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  • Q:

    What are three adaptations that enable birds to fly?

    A:

    Birds have many adaptations for flight, but three of the most important are feathers, a hollow and highly modified skeleton and internal organs capable of moving ample amounts of oxygen to flight muscles. Flight is very physically demanding, and birds are highly adapted to meet those demands.

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  • Q:

    How soon do baby birds fly?

    A:

    Baby birds fly at different rates depending on species, but they typically take at least two weeks after hatching. Some species of baby birds leave the nest and wallow on the ground for a week or more, still dependent upon their parents. Some species fly immediately after leaving the nest.

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  • Q:

    Why do birds fly in a V formation?

    A:

    Birds fly in a V-shaped formation to conserve energy and for better communication among the birds, according to Scientific American. Birds also fly in a J-shaped formation, and studies have shown that a true V-shaped formation is less common than a J-shaped formation.

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