Which Migratory Bird Travels The Farthest: Bird migration is the regular seasonal movement, generally north and south along a flyway, between breeding and wintering sites. Many species of bird migrate.
Migration entails substantial costs in predation and death, especially from hunting by people, and is motivated largely by availability of food. It happens mostly in the northern hemisphere, when birds are channelled on to certain routes by natural obstacles such as the Mediterranean Sea or the Caribbean Sea.
Migration of species such as storks, turtle doves, and swallows was reported as much as 3,000 years ago by Ancient Greek authors, including Homer and Aristotle, and in the Book of Job. More recently, Johannes Leche began collecting dates of arrivals of spring migrants in Finland in 1749, and current scientific investigations have utilised techniques including bird ringing and satellite monitoring to trace migrants.
Threats to migrating birds have risen with habitat degradation notably of stopover and wintering areas, as well as infrastructure such as power lines and wind farms.
Flight is one of the most astounding of bird talents. Speeding falcons, elegant egrets, and the aerial gymnastics of courting hummingbirds leave me in amazement.
Perhaps the most astonishing element of flying is one that we cannot see – birds’ ability to cross distances, often vast distances. Consider the Blackpoll Warbler that breeds in the northern woods of Canada and winters in the Amazon basin of South America. That’s a pricey jaunt.
But it’s the genuinely long-distance migrants who test credibility. The Arctic Tern is the world’s champion long-distance migratory. It breeds in the circumpolar Arctic and sub-Arctic and winters in the Antarctic. Tracking investigations have revealed the birds undertake yearly trips of around 44,100 kilometres.
One tern travelled from the Netherlands to Antarctica via New Zealand, for a one-year voyage of 57,000 kilometres. Arctic Terns don’t make the trip without pausing, of course, but this fact doesn’t subtract from the overall distance travelled.
The bird that flies farthest is the Arctic tern, a beautiful white seabird. This bird also sees more daylight than any other.
The Arctic tern nests on the beaches of the Arctic Ocean in the Northern Hemisphere summer. And it feeds across the waters of the Southern Hemisphere half a year later — in Southern Hemisphere summer. So, like many birds, this bird flies enormous distances every year to continue its life of eternal summertime.
North American Arctic terns fly around 24,000 miles (40,000 km) per year. That’s a distance approximately equal to the distance around the Earth.
Sooty Shearwaters travel an astounding distance each year, clocking as much as 40,000 miles as they make their round trip from their breeding colonies in the Falkland Islands in the spring to Arctic seas to eat throughout the summer, and back down to the breeding grounds in the fall.
They are frequent globe trotters, travelling from southern to northern hemispheres and covering as much as 310 kilometres a day. The Sooty Shearwater was formerly the record-holder for the longest migration for a bird, but that record was overthrown lately by another shown in this slideshow.