Alpine swifts, birds that weigh less than 0.25 pounds (0.11 kg), are able to fly continuously for more than six months. These birds have been tracked with electronic tags and found to have been in the air for more than 200 days. It is thought that their diet of airborne insects and an ability to rest in mid-air are contributing factors to this ability. Movement tracking devices for animals were developed in the 1960s, but versions small enough to be attached to birds weren’t available until the early 2000s.
More about birds' flight:
- A female bar-tailed godwit was once recorded flying continuously for 7,145 miles (11,500 km) from Alaska to New Zealand, which is roughly equivalent to a person running 43.5 miles (70 km) per hour for a week.
- Ruby-throated hummingbirds have been found to be able to make a flight from the Yucatan Peninsula in southeastern Mexico to the southern US in less than one day.
- The tern is estimated to migrate about 1.5 million miles (2.4 million km) during its average lifespan of 30 years, which is equivalent to traveling to the moon and back three times.