The Top 7 Highest Flying Birds in the World

Flying has always captivated human imagination, and the avian world offers some of the most astounding examples of aerial prowess. Among these are birds that soar to incredible heights, defying gravity with their wings. From the majestic albatross to the swift bar-headed goose, here are the top 7 highest flying birds in the world.

1. Common Swift (Apus apus)

The common swift is a small bird with a big reputation for its remarkable flying abilities. These aerial acrobats are known for spending most of their lives in the air, even sleeping and mating while flying. With their streamlined bodies and long, curved wings, common swifts can reach altitudes of up to 10,000 meters (33,000 feet) during their annual migration.

2. Rüppell’s Griffon Vulture (Gyps rueppelli)

Found in the skies above the African continent, Rüppell’s griffon vulture holds the record for the highest recorded flight altitude for a bird. In 1973, one of these impressive scavengers collided with an airplane at an astonishing height of 11,300 meters (37,000 feet). Their ability to soar to such heights is attributed to their massive wingspan and efficient gliding techniques.

3. Bar-headed Goose (Anser indicus)

Known for its remarkable migration across the Himalayas, the bar-headed goose is one of the highest flying waterfowl in the world. These sturdy birds have been recorded flying at altitudes exceeding 8,000 meters (26,000 feet) as they navigate the treacherous mountain passes between their breeding grounds in Central Asia and their wintering grounds in India.

4. Alpine Chough (Pyrrhocorax graculus)

The alpine chough is a member of the crow family known for its striking black plumage and vibrant red legs and bill. Found in high-altitude regions across Europe, Asia, and North Africa, these adaptable birds are often seen soaring above mountain peaks and steep cliffs. Alpine choughs have been observed flying at altitudes of over 8,000 meters (26,000 feet) as they search for food and thermals to ride.

5. Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus)

As one of the largest flying birds in the world, the Andean condor commands attention with its impressive wingspan and majestic flight. Found in the Andes Mountains of South America, these scavengers are known to soar to altitudes of over 6,000 meters (20,000 feet) as they search for carrion. With their massive wings, Andean condors effortlessly ride thermal currents to reach dizzying heights.

6. Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus)

Also known as the lammergeier, the bearded vulture is a unique bird of prey found in mountainous regions of Europe, Asia, and Africa. With its distinctive feathered beard and reddish-brown plumage, this vulture cuts a striking figure against the rugged landscapes it calls home. Bearded vultures have been observed flying at altitudes of over 7,000 meters (23,000 feet) as they patrol vast territories in search of bone marrow.

7. Wandering Albatross (Diomedea exulans)

Renowned for its exceptional wingspan, the wandering albatross holds the title for the longest wingspan of any living bird. These magnificent seabirds are capable of gliding effortlessly for hours on end, covering vast distances over the open ocean. While their flight altitude may not rival some of the other birds on this list, wandering albatrosses are known to reach heights of over 5,000 meters (16,000 feet) as they traverse the skies above the Southern Ocean.


From the dizzying heights of the Himalayas to the vast expanse of the open ocean, these birds showcase the incredible adaptability and resilience of avian life. Whether soaring above mountain peaks or riding the ocean breeze, the highest flying birds in the world inspire awe and admiration for their extraordinary feats of flight.

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