Why the peregrine falcon is the fastest animal in the world

No, cheetahs aren’t the fastest animals on Earth. Here's why this other animal is actually faster.

No, cheetahs aren’t the fastest animals on Earth

Taking all environments into account, it’s the peregrine falcon that holds the speed record. In 2005, one was recorded at 389.46 km/h, which is 16.86 km/h faster than the Formula 1 world record.

These peak speeds are reached when the falcon dives for prey. They’re possible thanks to its unique anatomy, even among birds of prey: wings that are more compact and pointed less pronounced ridges above its eyes to enhance aerodynamics and stiffer feathers to cut through the air and change direction.

During peak speeds, the air pressure could suffocate it but its nostrils have small bones called “tubercles” to slow down the air and decrease the pressure that could enter its lungs. But this exceptional speed isn't enough to hunt.

To catch its prey, it must also be agile and on the lookout. Its eyes allow it to see 2 times further than the human eye and to situate itself in space, even at high speeds. This allows it to close off its target. Launched at full speed the falcon can now throw its prey to the ground or stab it with the help of its 8 sharp talons.