Which bird can fly very high in the sky?

Answered by Phillip Nicastro

Ruppell’s Griffon Vulture, also known as the African White-backed Vulture, holds the impressive distinction of being the highest flying bird ever recorded. This majestic species has been documented soaring to incredible altitudes of up to 37,000 feet (11,300 meters) above sea level. The ability of these vultures to reach such great heights is truly remarkable and sets them apart from other avian species.

The natural habitat of Ruppell’s Griffon Vulture is primarily in the Sahel region of Central Africa, which spans across countries such as Chad, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Sudan. This vast region, characterized by its semi-arid climate and savannah landscapes, provides a suitable environment for these magnificent birds to thrive.

The remarkable flying abilities of Ruppell’s Griffon Vultures have been extensively studied and documented by scientists and bird enthusiasts alike. Their ability to soar to such great heights is primarily attributed to their large wingspan, which can reach up to 2.6 meters (8.5 feet). This impressive wingspan allows them to catch and utilize thermal updrafts, or columns of warm air, to gain altitude and maintain flight.

Thermal updrafts are created by the sun’s heating of the Earth’s surface, causing warm air to rise. Ruppell’s Griffon Vultures take advantage of these rising currents by circling within them, gradually gaining altitude without expending excessive energy. This efficient flying technique enables them to reach astonishing heights and cover vast distances in search of food and suitable habitats.

In addition to their exceptional flying abilities, Ruppell’s Griffon Vultures play a vital ecological role as scavengers. They primarily feed on carrion, or the decaying flesh of dead animals, which helps prevent the spread of diseases and helps maintain the balance of local ecosystems. Their large size and powerful beaks allow them to efficiently tear through tough animal carcasses, making them essential contributors to the natural recycling process.

However, despite their incredible adaptations and ecological importance, Ruppell’s Griffon Vultures face numerous threats and challenges. Habitat loss, poaching, poisoning, and collisions with power lines are some of the significant factors contributing to their declining population numbers. Conservation efforts are crucial to ensure the survival of this magnificent species and to protect their unique flying abilities for future generations to marvel at.

Ruppell’s Griffon Vulture holds the distinction of being the highest flying bird ever recorded, reaching altitudes of up to 37,000 feet. These impressive aerial abilities are made possible by their large wingspan and their skillful utilization of thermal updrafts. Found primarily in the Sahel region of Central Africa, these vultures play a crucial role as scavengers and contribute to the ecological balance of their habitats. However, their population is under threat, making conservation efforts essential for the preservation of this extraordinary species.