Till now, the speed record for horizontal flight was held by birds from the swift family: the common swift (Apus apus), they are considered the fastest birds at horizontal flight because they can reach speeds of over 100 kilometres per hour.
Together with colleagues from the US, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Germany have now discovered a new front-runner among the acrobats of the air.
“The Brazilian free-tailed bat shoots through the night skies at over 160 kilometres per hour because of their aerodynamic body shape and longer than average wings compared to other bat species enable them to reach such vast speeds.
“Animals with long and narrow wings usually fly faster than those with shorter and wider ones. For this reason, the scientists selected the Brazilian free-flying bat (Tadarida brasiliensis) for their study,” reported pioneernews.in.
“Initially, we could hardly believe our data, but they were correct: at times, the female bats, which weigh between 11 and 12 grams, flew at speeds of over 160 kilometres per hour – a new record for horizontal flight,” said Kamran Safi from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology.
The bats have an aerodynamic body shape and longer than average wing which help them reach speeds of 100mph. The data on the bats flying speeds were collected using a radio transmitter weighing just half a gram and attached to their backs using an adhesive and fell off after two to five days.