Trivia

Hard

The Highest Flying Bird In The World Is A Type Of?

Swan
Vulture
Crane
Goose

Answer: Vulture

Who hasn’t, at some point, wished to fly through the sky with the grace and ease of a bird. When we think of flying like a bird we think of swooping above buildings, or perhaps even touching the clouds, but to fly above the clouds? That seems a wee bit high for our feathered friends.

Yet, not only do more than a few bird species climb above the clouds, one particular species climbs to astounding heights. The Rüppell’s vulture, or Gyps rueppellii, is a large and endangered vulture found throughout the Sahel region of central Africa that has a particular knack for climbing right up into the upper troposphere.

The typical cruising altitude of a 747 passenger jet is around 35,000 feet above sea level, but Rüppell’s vultures have been found at confirmed elevations of 37,000 feet (and in fact that confirmation was acquired when one of the vultures was sucked into a jet engine in 1973 when the plane was at that elevation). It’s actually possible they can (and do) fly even higher, but we have yet to observe them at such extreme elevations.

How does the bird survive such an ascent? Rüppell’s vultures have specialized hemoglobin with a radically increased affinity for oxygen that allows them to absorb oxygen at extreme elevations. Along with how they do it, the even bigger question is why they do it. They do it to increase their field of vision. If you’ve got good eyes (and they certainly do), you can see miles and miles of territory from that elevation. Rather than expend precious energy flying over long distances to see the same amount of territory, they’ll fly lazily along at 20,000 feet (their common altitude range) above the Earth to find their next meal without expending too much energy in the process.

Trivia

Hard

What Will Outnumber People By 2019?

Trivia

Hard

Which Of These Movie Theater Staples Was Originally Banned In Early Movie Theaters?

Trivia

Hard

Which First Lady Started The White House Tradition Of Themed Christmas Trees?

Trivia

Hard

The Phenomenon Of Mastering Music With Increasing Loudness Is Known As What?

Trivia

Hard

The Very First U.S. Dollar Bill Featured A Portrait Of?

Trivia

Hard

Which Video Game Features A Boss Who Mocks Your Real Life Video Game Preferences?

Trivia

Hard

With The Y2K Problem Behind Us, We Now Need To Worry About What?

Trivia

Easy

The Largest Consumer Of Fireworks In The United States Is?

Trivia

Hard

Which Of These Coffee Brewing Methods Was Invented To Speed Up Coffee Preparation?

Trivia

Hard

Which Of These Iconic Video Games Originally Ran On HyperCard?