Shorebirds: In it for the long haul


By OHMIC | October 5, 2016

Shorebirds are a group of birds characterized by long legs and a long bill.

They feed by walking in shallow water probing for invertebrates in the mud. They nest in the arctic and winter in the Southern Hemisphere. This means that shorebirds have some of the longest migration routes found in birds. They are “long-hop” migrants, which means they complete their migration in a series of long distance (1,600 km) nonstop flights. This makes stopover sites likes marshes and ponds along their routes critical: places they can stop and feed for several days or weeks before moving on.

Shorebirds can migrate incredible distances. Who goes the furthest?

#11. American avocet: 500–4,500 km

#10. Short-billed dowitcher: 2,400–8,500 km

#9. Marbled godwit: 1,400–9,000 km

#8. Spotted sandpiper: 960–10,900 km

#7. Solitary sandpiper: 3,500–10,900 km

#6. Upland sandpiper: 9,400–12,000 km

#5. Wilson’s phalarope: 7,200–12,800 km

#4. Greater yellowlegs: 2,400–12,800 km

#3. Semipalmated plover: 6,400–12,800 km

#2. American golden plover: 9,400–13,100 km

#1. Lesser yellowlegs: 2,400–14,900 km

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