Welcome, welcome, welcome to the coolest blog post, you’ll read today – we are talking about animals that can both fly and swim!
These multi-talented creatures have the best of both worlds, and we are about to take a deep dive (pun intended) into their incredible abilities.
10 Animals That Can Fly and Swim
Geese are beautiful and social water birds that are able to fly and swim. They are native to North America, and they live near open water, thickets, mudflats, and wetlands.
Geese usually live 10 – 15 years in the wild, while in captivity, they can live more than 30 years. (source)
A fast flyer with many talents – they can fly up to 30 mph in one burst; they are able to reach altitudes up to 9 000 feet. During migration, they fly as low as 2,000 ft., sometimes for more than 50 miles.
Diving for food underwater, they can reach depths between thirty to forty feet below the surface. When not in flight or swimming, their wings remain still so that they don’t dry out against the water’s resistance.
Unlike swans who need to be drawn ashore with their wing feathers firmly wrapped around their body.
Ducks are a type of waterfowl that have evolved to be incredibly versatile, able to thrive in both the air and water.
Native to North and South America, ducks are a type of freshwater bird known for their webbed feet that make them excellent swimmers, while their waterproof feathers keep them dry while they paddle through the water in search of food.
In the air, ducks are well-known for their ability to fly at speeds of 40 to 60 miles per hour. They have broad, powerful wings that allow them to take off quickly and fly at high speeds.
Some species, like the mallard, are able to fly at high altitudes, reaching up to 21,000 feet in some cases.
Besides being fast flyers, these aquatic birds are great swimmers. Ducks can remain underwater for up to 1 minute.
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Another type of waterfowl known for their graceful appearance, swans have impressive abilities in both the air and water.
One of the most notable things about swans is their elegant, elongated necks, which they use to reach food at the bottom of shallow water bodies. Their strong legs and webbed feet make them excellent swimmers, and while swans usually float on the surface, they are also capable of diving.
Swans are great swimmers but prefer not to undress too much: how else could they proudly put their heads into the air?
When it comes to flying, swans can reach speeds of 18 to 30 mph. Thanks to their broad and powerful wings, swans can take off quickly, often in formation with fellow swans.
Interestingly, these majestic-looking birds clean themselves like cats by using their beak while swimming or lying in shallow water. This helps them stay healthy!
Seagulls are types of scavenger birds hailing from coastal environments exhibiting both flight and swimming abilities with great proficiency.
These so-called “rats of the sky” are notorious for their bold and sometimes unconventional behaviors.
You might spot seagulls swooping over fishing boats, eagerly eyeing the day’s catch, and hoping for a tasty treat. They are also known for their scavenging skills, often flying at night to pick through litter and even snagging food from waterspouts in seaside towns.
Seagulls have a unique ability to drink salt water, thanks to a pair of special glands that filter out the salt and allow them to drink fresh water. In the air, they’re known for their acrobatic flight patterns, and they use their sharp beaks to catch fish and other prey in the water.
The average flying altitude of seagulls is 50 feet. They can also dive as deep as 40 feet for food.
Webbed feet help them row and propel themselves deep in water. In addition, they have strong and sharp claws that help them catch prey.
Did you know that seagulls would sometimes rest on top of the water without sinking in? Apparently, they are not only birds that can swim, but they can also sleep on the water!
Loons are migratory, carnivore birds found in different parts of North America. These aquatic birds are named after their clumsy movement on the ground.
One of the most noticeable features of loons is the positioning of their legs at the back of their bodies, making it difficult for them to navigate on land.
However, when in the water, their legs are perfect tools for swimming both above and underwater.
Their streamlined bodies and powerful legs make them perfectly suited for life in the water, and their haunting calls can often be heard echoing across the surface of lakes and rivers.
So while loons might not be the best walkers, they are certainly some of the most fascinating swimmers out there.
Yet, besides being great swimmers and divers, loons are also strong flyers. Even though they struggle with takeoffs, once they are in the air, they can fly at a speed of 75 miles per hour.
They are also known after long distances flights. In one documented case, a loon flew 650 miles in one day!
Because of their black and white plumage, many people confuse them with penguins. Yet, puffins come from totally different bird families.
Puffins are a type of seabird that has evolved to be able to fly and swim with equal ease. Their wings are specially adapted for underwater flight, allowing them to “fly” through the water in pursuit of small fish and other prey.
In addition to their ability to fly underwater, puffins are equipped with webbed feet, which allow them to dive and impressive depths of 200 ft.
However, they are unable to stay underwater for more than 30 seconds.
When not swimming or hunting, puffins usually rest on the waves.
In the air, they can fly at a speed of 55 miles per hour, typically maintaining heights of 30 feet above the water.
Interestingly, puffins also have a distinctive beak that changes color during mating season, adding to their already adorable appearance.
Whether they are soaring through the air or gliding through the water, puffins are a testament to the incredible diversity and adaptability of the animal kingdom.
Pelicans are fascinating birds from the Pelicanidea family that are instantly recognizable for their distinctive bills and large size. While they might not be as well-known for their swimming abilities as some other aquatic birds, pelicans are actually quite skilled in the water.
Besides swimming abilities, pelicans are also known for being skilled divers. Some species are capable of reaching 60 feet below the water surface.
They are mostly found inhabiting lakes, rivers, and coastlines, and just like loons, pelicans are not so skilled on the ground.
In the air, pelicans fly in groups, usually in V formations. They can remain in the air for 24 hours, covering a hundred miles in one flight.
These adorable waterbirds can be found all over the world, and they have some truly impressive abilities.
When it comes to swimming, grebes are experts. They have their legs positioned far back on their bodies, which makes them excellent divers.
They usually reach depths of 20 feet while staying no longer than 30 seconds submerged.
On land, however, grebes are a little less agile. Their legs are so far back that they can’t walk very well, and they are not great at taking off from a standing position.
As for flying, grebes have a distinctive style. They have small wings in proportion to their bodies, which means they need to flap their wings rapidly to stay aloft.
This gives them a hummingbird-like appearance in flight. However, grebes aren’t built for long-distance flight – their wings are better suited to short bursts of flapping to escape predators or move from one body of water to another.
Now, let’s talk about gannets. These impressive birds are known for their stunning aerial acrobatics.
As a matter of fact, gannets can fly at speeds of up to 60 mph and dive into the water from heights of up to 100 feet!
They are also excellent swimmers – they have webbed feet and strong wings that they use to propel themselves through the water.
And when it comes to catching fish, gannets are some of the best diving birds out there. They can dive to depths of up to 72 feet in search of food.
Finally, we come to the elegant flamingos. These pink birds are known for their uniquely colored feathers and long, slender legs.
While flamingos aren’t quite as adept at flying as some of the other birds on this list, they can still cover impressive distances. In one night, these big birds can cover more than 350 miles.
Flamingos are also decent swimmers. And while they are mostly seen wading, they use their long legs and their webbed feet to paddle through deeper areas.
And when it’s feeding time, flamingos use their curved bills to filter tiny organisms out of the water and mud.