These birds really fascinate the imagination of the human mind. From a small songbird down to a gentle penguin, these avian record holders are truly one-of-a-kind.
In level flight: The mean estimated speed recorded for a satellite-tagged Grey-headed Albatross (Thalassarche chrysostoma ) is 127 km/h (78.9 mph) sustained for more than eight hours.
A Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) was recorded rising to a maximum of 350 km/h (217 mph) at 45.
The fastest (flightless) bird on land is the ostrich (Struthio camelus), which can reach 72 km/h (45 mph) when running.
The fastest bird swimmer is the Gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua), which has a burst of speed of about 27 km/h (17 mph).
Strongest Bird of Prey
The female Harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja) regularly kills and carries away animals equal or superior to its 9 kg (20 lb) weight.
Male Bee hummingbirds (Mellisuga helenae) of Cuba and the Isle of Youth measure 57mm (2.24 in) in total length, half of which is taken up by the bill and tail, and weight just 1.6g (0.056 oz). Females are slightly larger.
Hummingbirds also have the fastest wing-beat. The Ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) can produce a wing-beat rate of 200 beats per second (bps).
Keenest Smell for a Bird
Few birds have a developed sense of smell, but the Black-footed albatross (Diomedea nigripes) can smell bacon fat poured into the ocean from at least 30 km (18 miles) away.
The world’s hungriest birds are the hummingbirds (family Trochilidae), which have such high metabolic rates that they need to consume at least half of their total body weight in food every day in order to survive. Their food consists mostly of tiny insects and nectar.
The heaviest bird of prey is the Andean condor (Vultur gryphus), males of which average 9-12 kg (20-27 lb) and have a wing-span of 3 m (10ft). The heaviest flying bird is the kori bustard (Ardeotis kori) of south and east Africa; males can reach 18.2 kg (40 lb). The heaviest (and largest) of all birds is the ratite male ostrich (Struthio camelus camelus). It can grow 2.75m (9 ft) tall and may weigh 156.5 kg (345 lb).
Highest Yolk Content
The bird eggs with the highest yolk content to egg volume are those of New Zealand’s kiwis (order Apterygiformes). Some 60 % of a kiwi egg’s volume is taken up by yolk (compared with 31 % of a hen’s egg), and contains so much nutrient that the kiwi chick doew not have to eat for several days after hatching.
The nest of the vervain hummingbird (Mellisuga minima) is about half the size of a walnut shell, while the deeper but narrower one of the bee hummingbird (M.helenae) is thimble sized.
Largest Communal Nest
The Sociable weaver (Philetairus socius) of south-western Africa builds a nest that can be up to 8 m (26 ft) long and 2 m (6ft 6 in) high. Resembling a giant haystack that hangs from a tree or telegrph pole, it contains up to 300 individual nests. Not surprisingly, these enormous communal nests can get so heavy that the tree on which they are built sometimes collapses under the weight!