Dragonflies and hummingbird are among the animals that can fly backward. They also can change directions in midair and can hover in place for about a minute. Hummingbirds are the only non-insects that can fly backward, and they generally do so only when they are done feeding on the nectar of a flower. Their wings remain straight, unlike most birds’ wings that bend in the middle, and this gives them more strength when flying. Although it was once thought that flying backward was not an efficient means of movement, research has found that flying backward uses the same amount of energy as forward flight and is about 20% more efficient than hovering in midair.
More about animal flight:
- The midge, a small insect similar to a mosquito, beats its wings about 62,760 times per minute — the fastest of any animal.
- There are about 40 types of fish that can "fly" up out of the water, reaching heights of about 4 feet (1.2 m).
- Bats are the only mammals that can fly.