Story: Wading birds

Bar-tailed godwits’ migration route

Bar-tailed godwits’ migration route

This map shows the migration route taken to and from New Zealand by eastern bar-tailed godwits. They leave from Alaska in the northern autumn, and until recently it was assumed they followed a coastal route southwards that would allow them to feed and rest along the way. But there is now conclusive evidence that most take the direct route south across the central Pacific to New Zealand. Unlike seabirds, they cannot rest on water or feed at sea, so this 11,000-kilometre journey is the longest non-stop flight undertaken by any bird. The return flight to Alaska includes a stopover in the Yellow Sea so they arrive in good condition to breed in May.

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Source: Adrian C. Riegen, ‘Movements of banded Arctic waders to and from New Zealand.’ Notornis 46, part 1 (March 1999): 123 –142

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How to cite this page:

Gerard Hutching, 'Wading birds - Bar-tailed godwits', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 22 June 2024)

Story by Gerard Hutching, published 12 Jun 2006, reviewed & revised 17 Feb 2015