Peregrine falcons are built for speed. They’ve been clocked at more than 380 kilometers per hour when diving. This video from Deep Look examines some of the features that make these birds of prey so fast, from the shape of their eyes to the tubercles in their nostrils that help them breathe during high-pressure dives.
Part of the falcon’s speed comes from its signature stoop, where it pulls in its wings to form a tight, streamlined shape. This reduces drag forces on the falcon, letting gravity pull it toward a high terminal velocity. But even with its wings extended, the falcon exudes speed and agility. Its wings form a sharp leading edge to cut through the air, with stiff, overlapping feathers that slice the flow. Compare this to the feathers of an owl, which specializes in silence rather than speed for catching its prey. (Video and image credit: Deep Look)