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What is the Average Flying Speed of an African Sparrow?

By Betty Lewis

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Africa hosts a variety of sparrows, including the Cape, white-billed, Kenya and gray-headed varieties. The house sparrow, common to most parts of the world, also calls Africa home. The sparrow doesn't glide, but always flaps his wings, moving at an average speed of 21 miles per hour.

Fast Take-Off

A sparrow flies at the same basic speed, no matter what species you're talking about or where he lives. In fact, most birds cruise between 20 and 30 mph, though some can go much faster. A sparrow's average flying speed will depend on what he's doing -- for example, a bird being chased by a predator will fly much faster than one leisurely looking for food. Size doesn't have much influence on speed; a hummingbird can fly about as fast as a goose. A bird's wings -- specifically the size and shape -- have the most impact on how fast he flies. African sparrows, as well as other passerines, have tapered wings to reduce drag. Their wings are short compared to their width, allowing for quick take-off and extra agility to help avoid predators. His wings aren't built for high speed for long periods, however. Sparrows typically fly between 17 and 24 mph.

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