The world’s fastest bird in flight is the peregrine falcon. In a hunting dive, peregrine falcons frequently reach a speed of 200 mph. As of 2015, the highest measured speed of a peregrine dive is 242 mph.
Peregrine falcons are skillful hunters. Dives involve soaring to great heights and plunging steeply, hitting the wing of potential prey, such as pigeons or ducks. Tubercles made of bone on the peregrine’s nostrils enable it to breathe during descent by reducing the change in air pressure. The bird’s eyes are protected by membranes that clear debris and maintain its vision. Peregrine falcons close their talons before striking and knock their prey unconscious with a single blow. If the victim survives the initial strike, the peregrine breaks its neck with a quick bite.