The Highest Flying Bird

Posted on 30 March 2012 by RE Team

<h4 class=”shadow-bringer shadow”>Bar-headed Goose</h4>The birds are the most expert migratory animal on earth and they can overcome any obstacles on their way even it is the highest obstacle on earth, the Everest. Yes, it is very true for one migratory bird, Bar-headed Goose. This Asian goose is now considered as the highest flying bird in the world.


The Pretty Bar Headed Goose - Photo Wikipedia


A recent GPS survey reveals that the bar-headed Goose starts migrating from their breeding home at central Asia (Mongolia) and covers  more than 5000 km in two months to reach the low lands in India. These low lands are grazing grounds for the birds in winter as the grass on the high altitude dry up. The total migration takes around two months, as they take frequent stop.

The most interesting and puzzling thing about their migration is that they cross the highest mountain range on Earth, the Himalayan, in a single flight within eight hours. They choose the toughest and highest route of the Himalayan crossing the Everest to reach their destination. The GPS study records that the geese fly over 6,500 meter (22000 feet) in the Himalayan range. But there are reports of the birds flying over the mount Everest at around 30000 feet.


Bar Headed Goose - Anser Indicus @BBC photo


Another very contrasting fact about the Bar-headed bird is that unlike other high flying birds that reach high altitude by soaring and gliding up, the Bar-headed goose reaches the extra-ordinary height by smartly flapping their wings. This is the reason why these geese don’t depend on the tail-wind on the Himalayan range, in fact they deny the winds and starts climbing up high altitude when the wind blows out. The bird’s body is specially made to meet this exceptional capability.  More red-blood cells and more capillaries than normal birds deliver their muscles more oxygen than others.

Though their flying and migration nature is confirmed, yet it is still not known clearly why these birds take such a hard route. There are lower passes available in the Himalayan range, that could have given them easy passage.  A hypothesis suggests that the geese choose to fly over rather than around the Himalaya is that the birds have been doing so for millions of years—long before the mountains reached their current heights.


3 Comments For This Post

  1. Vicki Says:

    The highest flying bird ever recorded was a Griffon Vulture recorded at 36,000 feet! It was sucked into a jet engine. I think this is correct?

  2. mukund Says:

    actually it was just a rumour.

  3. mukund Says:

    ha ha ha.

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