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Facts about birds

Which bird flies fastest, which is smallest, which lays the largest egg, which has the greatest number of feathers, and a flock of additional amazing facts.
Published: 2/14/2012

Peregrine Falcon at Gulf Islands National Seashore, Florida, by Jeff Cole.

Peregrine Falcon at Gulf Islands National Seashore, Florida, by Jeff Cole.

Did you know there are about 9,600 bird species in the world, and that more than 2,000 have been recorded in North America? Each one is fascinating.

• Fastest-moving bird: Peregrine Falcon diving at 200 mph (320 km/h)

• Slowest-flying bird: American Woodcock at 5 mph (8 km/h)

• Longest-submerged bird: Emperor Penguin at 18 minutes

• Slowest wingbeat: vultures at 1/sec

• Greatest weight-carrying capacity: Pallas’s Fish Eagle lifting a 13-lb (5.9-kg) carp — 160% of body weight

Ruby-throated Hummingbird in Parishville, New York, May 15, 2014, by xmailmand.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird in Parishville, New York, May 15, 2014, by xmailmand.

• Coldest temperature endured: -80.5 degrees F (-62.5 degress C) by Snowy Owls

• Keenest sense of hearing: Barn Owl

• Smallest bird: Bee Hummingbird at 2.24 in (5.7 cm), 0.056 oz (1.6 g)

• Largest egg: Ostrich measuring 7 by 4.5 in (17.8 by 14 cm)

• Smallest clutch size: 1 egg laid every 2 years by albatrosses

• Greatest wingspan: Wandering Albatross at up to 11 ft 11 in (3.63 m)

• Longest tail feathers: Crested Argus Pheasant at 5.7 ft (173 cm)

• Greatest number feathers: Tundra Swan at 25,216

• Lowest number feathers: Ruby-throated Hummingbird at 940

We found the facts about birds above in the book The Bird Almanac: A Guide to Essential Facts and Figures of the World’s Birds, by David M. Bird

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