The average pigeon can fly at a sustained average speed of 60mph, racing pigeons that have been bred for speed can significantly exceed this average.
Pigeons can reach top speeds of up to 77.6mph for short periods and have been recorded flying as fast as 92.5 mph!
Accounting For Variables In Pigeon Speed
Measuring the speed of a pigeon is something which is very difficult to do because there are so many variables to take into consideration.
The distance measured is one such variable.
Homing pigeons race over various distances from relatively short sprints to marathon races of great distances.
When pigeons fly long distances they will often sprint then rest every few hours. So do you measure the speed of the sprint or simply the total distance divided by the time the journey took?
Other factors to take into account are weather conditions.
Summer or winter? Sunshine or blizzard? High winds, tail winds, or head winds. High or low altitude flying.
And what method would be universally agreed upon to measure the flight of a pigeon. It is very difficult to precisely measure while factoring for atmospheric variables.
The Fastest Bird Of Them All
Pigeons aren’t the fastest birds around, but still attain a respectable speed when compared with other birds.
The Peregrine Falcon is claimed to be the fastest bird alive with a top speed of over 200 mph recorded. These speeds are reached when they dive to attack prey, not during sustained flight. Falcons hover and then swoop.
The most precise recording of bird speed was done by a satellite that measured the flight of a Grey-headed Albatross. At an average sustained speed of 78.9 mph in sustained flight, it is the fastest traveling bird in the skies.
These high-altitude flying birds with a wingspan of over 7ft can effortlessly sustain high speeds once they get going.
The Fastest Pigeon Ever?
In 2013 a Belgian pigeon called Bolt, named after the Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt was auctioned off for the sum of £260,000 / $453,000.
It was claimed that Bolt was the fastest pigeon in the world, though no speed records or over any specific distances are given to back up that claim.
However it was the fastest pigeon in a loft that belonged to a breeder that boasted champion bloodlines.
Unfortunately, claims of speed are only viable when set against a universal standard.
Without quoting figures that can be disputed, it is well known that pigeons are very swift critters.
We already know that pigeons are amazing fliers because of the distances that they can cover during their races, without the need for precise measurements of speed.
All pigeons move fast, just watch them maneuver around moving vehicles and other obstacles in your city!