Science Focus - the home of BBC Science Focus Magazine

What is the most agile bird?

Subscribe to BBC Science Focus Magazine and get 6 issues for just £9.99

Is it a bird, is it a plane? The most nimble bird in the world is common throughout the Northern Hemisphere.

Asked by: Rachel Sanchez, Manchester


The masters of low-speed aerobatics are the hummingbirds, which can hover with millimetre precision, and fly sideways or backwards.

But in the avian Olympics, the slalom medals are all won by woodland raptors such as the northern goshawk. Despite having a wingspan of over a metre, these birds can chase prey at up to 60km/h while weaving through dense forest.


Subscribe to BBC Focus magazine for fascinating new Q&As every month and follow @sciencefocusQA on Twitter for your daily dose of fun science facts.


luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.


Sponsored content