According to wikipedia was Archaeopteryx rather glider than capable of active flight. As a hunting strategy it crawl up to a tree (or other high positioned place) and glide from it to a prey.

Most of the modern birds are capable of active flight. Does anybody know if a (purely) gliding species of bird exist in present?

  • $\begingroup$ That's really not how Archaeopteryx hunted, maniraptorans have really abysmal climbing ability, and Archaeopteryx shows no improvement on that. The current consensus is that Archaeopteryx was an active flier, albeit a poor one. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Feb 24, 2019 at 14:49

1 Answer 1


There is a classification of birds called Soaring birds.

Soaring Birds

In definition, some land birds, such as vultures and certain hawks, sustain flight for long periods without flapping their wings. They take advantage of updrafts produced when the wind blows over hills and mountain ridges or make use of rising columns of warm air called "thermals."

Vultures stay within thermals by flying slowly in tight circles. They have short, broad wings and a low wing loading (ratio of bird weight to wing area) that allows them to remain aloft and to be highly maneuverable at slow speeds. [1]

List of soaring birds

  • Birds of Prey
    • Buzzards
    • Condors
    • Eagles
    • Falcons
    • Harriers
    • Hawks
    • Kites
    • Osprey
    • Secretary Bird
    • Vultures
  • Passerine
    • Chough
  • Cranes
    • Sandhill
  • Sea birds
    • Albatrosses
    • Frigatebirds
    • Gulls
    • Herons
    • Pelicans
    • Petrels
    • Shearwaters
    • Storks
    • Terns
  • Extinct
    • Argentavis





(source: scienceviews.com)


(source: mnn.com)


Most similar morphology to Archaeopteryx is found in Hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin) like claws as hands as they hold the branch when they are small.

(source: pbworks.com)


[1] Soaring Birds by Paul R. Ehrlich, David S. Dobkin, and Darryl Wheye.

  • $\begingroup$ Hi @Devashishish Das!. Thank you for your answer, howerver I can not accept it. I am looking for "pure" gliding species (WITHOUT ability of active flight). $\endgroup$ Jul 26, 2014 at 8:09
  • $\begingroup$ @LadislavNado: Are you sure? Soaring Birds Are gliding birds. Moreover, flight pattern of Archaeopteryx is still under research. $\endgroup$ Jul 26, 2014 at 10:36
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thank you @Devashish Das for updating your answer! Opisthocomus hoazin is a great example!!! If you in future find another similar species, please add it. Many thanks again, I will use Opisthocomus hoazin for my popular science lecture where I wil make acknowledges to you ;) $\endgroup$ Jul 26, 2014 at 11:01
  • $\begingroup$ I think this might be a better approximation of the most current consensus for the comparative size of Argentavis to humans than the one you've used? $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Feb 25, 2019 at 1:20

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