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The Wonders of Migratory Birds
Destination Tips

The Wonders of Migratory Birds

Migratory birds can be found across the world, and they represent an incredible natural phenomenon. These birds undertake amazing journeys, often flying hundreds or thousands of miles to reach their destinations. Their story is one of resilience and determination, as they brave long journeys and often harsh conditions in order to reach their breeding grounds.

What are Migratory Birds?

Every year, birds migrate across vast distances in order to find the most suitable places to rest, breed, and feed their young. When the weather becomes too cold in their breeding grounds, they travel to places with more favourable conditions.

When is the world Migragtory Day?

May 13 and October 14

Migratory Birds

The Mechanisms of Migration

Migration of birds is varied and complex. Most typically migrate between northern breeding grounds in the summer and southern wintering areas, although some may migrate horizontally to milder coastal climates or vertically to higher mountains in summer and lower ground in winter.

Migratory birds have the ideal body and physical abilities to fly quickly and for extended periods of time. Yet, their trip is often strenuous and they reach their limits. An example is the Red Knot, a 24 cm long wader that weighs 220 g, which breeds in Siberia and spends the winter in West Africa, with some flying further south to South Africa. During migration, they can lose up to half of their body weight. As a result, they typically don’t fly directly to their destination, but rather rest, feed, or wait out unfavorable weather conditions at various points along their journey.

Benefits of Migratory Birds

Migratory birds are of great importance to the environment, controlling pests, pollinating plants, and providing food for other animals. They are also a great source of entertainment for many people who like to observe and feed them, as well as those who create habitats in their backyards to attract different species.

Ecological Benefits

The Sahelian Wetlands, encompassing numerous African countries and providing for almost one billion people, are a great example of the importance of migratory birds to ecosystems and people everywhere.

In an attempt to save both the birds and the livelihoods of those living in the wetlands, five countries in the region, along with international organizations and populations, are joining forces to create solutions to protect the wetlands and the birds, while still providing for the needs of the people.


Facts and data

A young bird on its first migration flies in the correct direction according to the Earth’s magnetic field, but does not know how far the journey will be.

Aditional Information

Cornell Lab of Ornithology—Home | Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology


  • Migratory birds are a crucial component of the global environment and provide numerous benefits to humans and other organisms.
  • They are an important part of the global ecosystem and their conservation is essential for maintaining healthy ecosystems.
  • Protecting migratory bird populations is a key part of conserving biodiversity and sustaining the planet’s health.
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