Thursday, 12 August 2021

Built for speed

The peregrine falcon is one of the fastest birds in the sky. During level flight, with motion generated by wing-beats alone, they can reach speeds between 60-100 km/h. This is one of the fastest known speeds for level flight.


During aerial pursuit of a prey, the peregrine falcon can reach extremely fast speeds and this is where the peregrine is in a league of its own. It is possible for a peregrine to reach speeds of more than 300 km/h when diving for a prey, which is phenomenal.

The forces that the peregrine is exposed to during a dive flight are mind boggling, which places high demands on the strength and the streamline of the feathers of the wings.



For this reason the feathers of falcons are far less soft than the feathers of for example hawks and owls. For flying at very high speeds the feathers must have stability and control over the entire surface area. The sturdy and tight construction of the feather is clearly recognizable in the photographs.

*With thanks to my dear wife Geertje Pinxten for colour adjusments.


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