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The World's Most Incredible Bird Migrations

This article is published in collaboration with Statista

by Niall McCarthy

October 10th is World Migratory Bird Day which occurs annually and aims to inform the public about migrating birds and ways to conserve them. We're using the occasion to highlight some truly spectacular bird migrations around the world. The Arctic Tern is a real record breaker and it has the longest migration distance by far in the animal kingdom, covering 90,000 km (55,923 mi) from pole to pole every year.

An Arctic Tern can live up to 30 years and if the distance it traverses over its lifetime is added up, it is equivalent to a journey to the moon and back. Not just once but three times. The Sooty Shearwater is another incredible long-distance migrant. These birds do not migrate as a flock but individually, covering distances of up to 64,000 km (39,767 mi). Recent tagging experiments suggest that birds breeding in New Zealand may travel as far as Japan, Alaska and California in a single year, which could add up to 74,000 km (45,981 mi).

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