What Bird Flies Backwards?

bird-flies-backwards Credit: Kevin Cole/Flickr/CC-BY-2.0

Hummingbirds fly backwards, and they are the only birds capable of doing so. When using this unique ability, hummingbirds may reach speeds of 25 to 30 mph as they go. These birds have flexible wings that they can rotate in swift circles to help fly in reverse.

The wings on a hummingbird have the same rotational capacity as helicopters, and they perform many of the same functions. Like helicopters, hummingbirds can fly forward, backward, hover in the air, shoot upwards and dive toward the ground. These birds can also fly short distances upside down, which is an escape technique they employ when fleeing from attacking birds.