In simple words, birds are made to fly high according to their capacity and strength. Every human dream of flying high like a bird, which is why they created airplanes that can travel at an altitude of 30,000 to 40,000 ft.
However, birds can easily pass the gratitude of an airplane. The bird flying procedure is their primary mode of locomotion used by almost all birds to fly. The flying ability helps the birds to feed themselves and avoid predators. Moreover, birds also tend to migrate over the places, all due to their flying ability.
In the animal kingdom, birds flying is one of the most intense and complex locomotive forms. The flying process involves hovering, taking off, and then landing after the flight. However, specific and complex motions are utilized by the birds in doing so. The major point under discussion is the understanding of birds that can fly the highest. Various theories have been found explaining the flight of birds and describing what bird can fly the highest.
Rüppell’s Griffon Vulture
The latest studies have found that Rüppell’s griffon vulture is the highest-flying bird, having flown at an altitude of 37,000 ft. Comparing the bird’s oxygen level, it is quite less at such a higher altitude than the ground. However, Rüppell’s griffon vulture’s body comprises a specific type of hemoglobin that makes effective oxygen intake even at a higher altitude.
This bird is included in the vulture family, having a length of 1 meter approximately with 7-9kgs of weight. Its wingspan lies between 2.3 to 2.5 meters usually. The bird can fly at a speed of 22mph; meanwhile, it can stay for hours in the air. The birds, mainly Rüppell’s griffon vulture, are scavengers. Their eyes work keenly as they can spot carcasses even from far away.
A common crane is considered the second highest-flying bird. Their flying ability is calculated as they can fly across the Himalayas at the height of 33,000 meters. Commonly, the cranes are known as Eurasian cranes as they tend to live in the northern areas of Asia and Europe. The size of the common crane is medium with a wingspan of 1.8 to 2.4 meters. The bird usually migrates at a long distance. A large and V-shaped formation is seen when a common crane migrates.
Back in 2011, the Asian goose was considered the highest-flying bird ever recorded. However, the bird still can fly higher over the Himalayas within 8 hours. The Asian goose is very pretty as it is a bar-headed goose, and it seems to look like a super athlete as per researchers.
The world’s tallest mountain region is the Himalayas, and these birds have recorded flying there, rising above 29,035 feet. The bird usually reaches the peak height of nearly 21,120 feet during the regular travels, whether it migrates and covers almost 5,000 miles. During migration, these birds are seen making stops for rest. The intense climb of 8 hours over the Himalayas could kill the humans as the bird can complete its journey of 8 hours in a single try.
One of the largest species of vulture family is the bearded vulture, living in the mountains area of southern Europe. These birds weigh between 5 to 7kgs while having a wingspan of 2.5 to 2.7 meters. They have strings and large wings that allow them to soar above the mountain areas. They can fly 24,000 ft. above the ground.
Such birds usually feed on carcass bones, and they are known as bone-eaters. They can even swallow small bones, and if they get to eat big bones, they first break them into pieces by dropping onto rocks and then eat them. Their stomach is made of acid to digest the bones.
Body of Birds for High Flying
The most impressive characteristic of birds is that they have great muscle power for flying while taking no help from their tail wounds or updraft parts. Several bird species have been identified as high altitude flyers, which they usually do by soaring and then following the gliding up process. The bar-headed goose bird can reach lofty heights by just flapping its wings vigorously. Over time, birds have evolved according to their physiological adaptations, which have been proved as the ultimate reason behind their migration. There are internal morphological tweaks that allow them to fly high.
Several studies have concluded that geese birds have more capillaries and red blood cell efficiency than other birds. In this way, their body delivers more oxygen, which makes the muscle cells work faster. Some birds have more mitochondria inside their cells, which ultimately produces more energy to fly high.
Birds are made of lighter bones and strong legs, along with having specific wings shape. Hence, they can save themselves from animals trying to eat them, and somehow they can also save themselves from human hunters. They need to migrate according to the seasonal changes as they travel from cold to warm places during migration.
They do not have to flap their wings every time they are flying. Whether in the sky or if they received their higher altitude, they can glide, or you can say that they can free ride in the air. It allows them to flap their wings only once in a while.
Birds are naturally created to fly; hence there is no evidence for the bird’s evolution. Every animal’s structure is different, depending on the flying bird towards a non-flying reptile. However, the comparison between the flying heights of the bird can explain that it can fly highest in today’s era too. Studies are still working on knowing and finding more evidence regarding bird’s fight, wingspan, and efficiency.