Magazine article Geographical

Which Bird Has the Longest Non-Stop Migration?

Magazine article Geographical

Which Bird Has the Longest Non-Stop Migration?

Article excerpt

Brown, Whiteman

ANSWER: The accolade for the longest migration goes to the Arctic Tern, which likes all-day sunlight so much it flies between the Arctic and the Antarctic--a distance of 19,000 kilometres. It makes the journey over Europe end Africa or North and South America, ensuring that there are plenty of stopping-off points for feeding.

The bar-tailed godwit (above) has no such luxuries. It flies over the Pacific Ocean from Alaska to New Zealand in go, a distance of 12,000 kilometres. Bob Gill of the US Geological Survey and Theunis Piersma from Groningen University in the Netherlands looked at the time it took tagged godwits to make this incredible journey in order to help conclude that the birds make it non-stop.

In order to make the journey in four or five days, the birds fatten themselves up before setting off. Some of their internal organs even shrivel up temporarily so as to make more room to pack in fat. …

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