Fastest in the Air
The speed of a bird is measured in air speed, not ground speed because of certain factors like the wind against the velocity of the vehicle. But’s that another story for another day.
The fastest flying animal is the Peregrine Falcon, a quite adept bird of prey who clocks up to 200 miles per hour! They have long, aerodynamic pointed wings and a stocky unmarked but beautifully-feathered chest. They hunt from above, taking a dive like a missile to incredible speeds.
Bird on Land
There is a bird that runs on land that sets some record too. It’s the ostrich. The largest bird weighing in at about 250-plus pounds, it cannot fly—but run it does.
As a long distance runner, it pumps powerful legs up to 43 miles per hour (about 70 kilometers/hour). Their wings act as rudders, helping them to steer and change direction. Since their legs are so powerful, they can cover about 16 feet in one stride, hello! Not only that, but their two-toed foot packs a wallop, and the claw inside can kill a human or a lion. And as far as that old saying about them burying their heads in the sand—no, not happening—but in defensive posture, they do bend down low.