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Earth Unplugged

How this speedy animal moves so quickly

How does one of the fastest animals on Earth move so quickly?

Meet Isla, the gyrfalcon. She’s about to take on a Bently in a head-to-head speed test.

Gyrfalcons are the world’s largest species of falcon found in the Arctic and the islands of northern North America, Europe, and Asia.

In the wild, gyrfalcon spot their prey from miles above ground, tracking it for extended periods of time meaning this bird needs stamina as well as speed.

Previously the Earth Unplugged team tested the pereguin falcon (the world’s fastest animal) against a downhill bike rider. The pereguin has been known to reach speeds of over 200 mph (320 kph).

Clocking in at up to 70 mph (110 kph), the gyrfalcon may seem slow compared to this incredibly speedy bird, but when it comes to endurance flying over a long distance the gyrafalcon is king.

BBC Earth Unplugged’s Maddie Moate catches up with bird handling legend Lloyd Buck to explain the bird’s evolutionary adaptations.

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Falcon vs car

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