Wader Wednesday – Bar-tailed Godwit Migration

For Wader Wednesday this week, it’s the incredible bar-tailed godwit. Last autumn one of these birds broke the world record for the longest known recorded continuous migration flight, when a juvenile flew from Alaska to southern Australia in 11 days and one hour. The flight was recorded at a distance of 13,560 km and the satellite tag data suggests that during this period, the five month old bird set off on 13 October, landed briefly in Kiribati on 19 October and Vanuatu on 21 October before arriving in Tasmania on 25 October.

The previous record was also held by a bar-tailed godwit that recorded 13,000 km on migration in 2021, which beat the same bird’s previous best of 12,000 km the year before.

Two things stand out for me in this story
1. Migration is just incredible. This juvenile would have undertaken this journey in a flock of juveniles without adult birds present, as adults tend to leave Alaska up to six weeks before juveniles.
2. Satellite tagging is a fantastic tool for understanding species migration.

Amazing migration fact: Birds can shrink their internal organs so they take up less space, allowing them to build up additional fat reserves for their migration flight.