Ah Ha! The age old question pops up again! :)
Most likely it's about 40 to 50mph, as stated from Ask A Scientist -
Zoology Archive Speed of a Swallow
name James S.
"Question - What is the average air speed of a swallow?
(yes this question was inspired by the python script, but it is a
serious inquiry nonetheless. Thanks)
Flight speeds of birds are difficult to measure and verify, Estimates
maximum speed of swallows is probably 40 to 50 mph. (Terres. Audubon
Encyclopedia of North American Birds)
However, opinions are varied and all over the map, as you can see by
the following links provided.
Slashdot News For Nerds. Stuff that matters.
What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?
African or European?
From The Armory The Armory - a geek house in Santa Cruz, California,
What... is the Airspeed Velocity of an Unladen Swallow?
"...swallow question from the movie Monty Python and the Holy
(~~~My note~~~ I personally would have to agree with the answer: more
than a laden swallow
From: Google Groups DWIII
Subject: Re: Airspeed of Swallow Trivia Question
"firstname.lastname@example.org (Dave) wrote:
"Please help me settle a discussion that I am having with a friend of
I contend that the actual airspeed velocity of a swallow was never
"Quest For the Holy Grail."
He contends that it was. If it was, what is the velocity?
A velocity is not mentioned in the film. However, Scene 24 (which has
some lovely acting) alluded to the standard distance known as the
"swallow's flight (unladen)". If and only if one knew how long it
for an unladen swallow to complete its maximum-range journey, one then
could infer (at least) an average velocity... that is, of course,
assuming a European swallow's flight...
[GET ON WITH IT!]
(I think the first knight said, "I don't know that,"
and the second said, " African or European?")
The question was posed to King Arthur only. Since he deftly evaded
it is not clear whether or not he actually knew the answer, in spite
his (alleged) vast knowledge in the field of swallowology."
More from Google Groups:
What is the airspeed of an unladen swallow?
The airspeed of an unladen swallow is the velocity of a swallow that
is not ladened 1 depends on the variety of swallow.
The airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow is $swallow.
What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow: "Slower than
light, but faster than spam."
What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow
Airspeed Velocity of an Unladen Swallow: uhhh.....AAAHHHHHH
Airspeed Velocity of an Unladen Swallow: mach 3.5
Airspeed Velocity of an Unladen Swallow: African or European
Airspeed Velocity of an Unladen Swallow: 20 miles an hour
Airspeed Velocity of an Unladen Swallow: 0, unless you scare it."
So, there you have it! I suppose it depends on who you ask, when you
ask, and if the sun is shining and the wind is blowing N-NE, and no
clouds are in the sky... and the poor swallow isn't trying to keep up
with the rest of the flock while carrying twigs to build it's nest...
and... and... if the weather that day is humid and full of moisture...
... etc. etc. :)
Monty Python unladen swallow, airspeed unladen swallow