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Brazilian Free-Tailed Bat Is The World’s Fastest Flyer

Nov 10, 2016 05:48 AM EST
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Cute-looking bat colonies are actually bristling with arguments about food and sex

The Brazilian free-tailed bird (Tadarida brasiliensis) weighs just 11 grams and doesn't look to be the fastest animal in the world. However, this tiny-winged mammal can hit speeds of more than 100 miles (160 km) per hour as found by scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Ornithology.

Scientists used minute radio transmitters to observe their flight paths. Their longer wings and aerodynamic shape allow them to touch high speeds compared to other creatures in the sky. These birds have even gone to surpass the records set by birds from the swift family at 62 miles per hour.

The peregrine falcon, also referred to as peregrine, touches speeds of 300 kilometers per hour while diving. It's surprising to note that bats, who are known to build stronger resistance because of the structure of their wings are considered slow flyers. It has been found that birds with long, narrow wings tend to fly faster compared to those with wider and shorter wings. This was the reason why scientists chose this Brazilian bird to conduct the study.

According to Kamran Safi, a doctor at  Max Planck Institute of Ornithology, he was initially baffled by the results and could hardly believe the data. The speeds were gathered with the help of a radio transmitter that weighed 0.5 grams.  It was stuck to the back of the birds with an adhesive and fell off after a couple of days.

Scientists also studied the information recorded from the nearest weather station and observed the condition of the wind during the time of their analysis. External determinants like tailwinds and landscape could not explain the outcomes as they did not have any effect on the speeds, said Dr. Dina Dechmann from Max Planck Institute of Ornithology.

Birds still remain a model for aviation engineers and are unmatched as far as flight characteristics are concerned.

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