Forty percent of all birds tend to migrate every year for the purpose of finding ample food, abundant nesting grounds, and pleasant weather. This totals to at least 4,000 bird species who are regular migrants. With such a large number, there always has to be the best of the best. Who’s the fastest migrator? Who travels the farthest? Who travels the least? There’s no need to wonder anymore. Presenting to you, the superlatives of bird migration:
1. Mr. Sky High: The highest flying migratory birds are known as the Bar-Headed Geese. These fliers hold the record of reaching altitudes of up to 5 ½ miles above sea level. At this extreme height, there is 10% less oxygen than what is found at sea level.
2. Ms. Distance Dare Devil: The Arctic Tern wins the award for longest migrator. In its average life of 25 years, this flier collects about 1 million kilometers under its belt. For North American Arctic Terns, distances of 24,000 miles are traveled every year. Not only can these birds fly long distances, but they also see more daylight than any other bird around.
3. Mr. Speedy: The Great Snipe is known as the fastest migratory bird, reaching speeds up to 60 mph during flight. It is not common to find birds that are extremely fast while traveling extremely far. However, the Great Snipe is one of these rarities as they can fly 4,200 miles non-stop.
4. Ms. Keep it Short and Simple: The Mountain Quail is known for traveling the shortest distance for bird migration. Gathering in groups of up to 20, Mountain Quails begin their journey from their summer homes and up through the mountains. As ground dwelling birds, migration is done on foot, with a distance of only 20 miles.
5. Mr. Heavy Weight: With males weighing up to 16 kg and females weighing about 5 kg, the Great Bustard is deemed the heaviest migrating bird. As one of the heaviest among all flying birds, the Great Bustard cover a distance of 2,000 miles during migration.
6. Ms. No Sleep: The trophy for the migratory bird that flies the farthest distance without stopping goes to the Bar-tailed Godwit. Without taking a break for food, water, or rest, this bird can fly up to 7,145 miles in 9 days. Truly incredible…
Written by Nicole Afable for Bird-X, Inc.