Many of the birds that visit during the northern winter make their journey to New Zealand in stages from the Arctic Circle via Asia, Malesia (the Malay Peninsula, Indonesia, the Philippines and New Guinea) and Australia.
The direct route south over the central Pacific is only taken by bar-tailed godwits from Alaska. On the northern journey they join other species taking the East Asian–Australasian Flyway, stopping to feed en route. The distances they fly are staggering, and they must cope with whatever weather conditions they encounter.
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Source: Adrian Riegen, Miranda Shorebird Centre brochure