This is the longest bird migration ever recorded

This is the longest bird migration ever recorded

The Arctic Tern enjoys an eternal summer thanks to its migrations between the Arctic and Antarctica. However, until a few years ago the details of this migration were unknown.

Thanks to a study from 2011, we now know that his trip is the most spectacular ever recorded .

90,000 km

After the aforementioned study, it was found that these birds had spent an average of 273 days away from their colonies in the Netherlands and had traveled 90,000 kilometers , that is, the longest bird migration ever recorded, exceeding previous estimates for the same species in about 20,000 kilometers.


To find out this information, a group of Dutch scientists captured seven Arctic terns and placed geolocators of just 1.5 grams in mass on their legs. As David Barrie explains in his book The Most Incredible Journeys:

These devices recorded the time of sunrise and sunset every day, information that allowed the researchers to reconstruct the trips that the birds had made once they managed to recapture five of them a year later.

Arctic terns had reached the southern tip of Africa and then flown across the Southern Ocean before heading south to Antarctica, then back home across the Atlantic, a much longer loop.

No one yet knows for sure how the Arctic tern navigates the vast expanses of the open sea, or how it manages to locate its nesting colonies.

Arctic terns are medium-sized birds. They are 33-39 centimeters long and have a 76-85 cm wingspan. They are birds of great longevity and many reach twenty years of age. They feed mainly on fish and small marine invertebrates. Arctic terns are monogamous (they mate with the same mate for life) .

The Arctic Tern has appeared on stamps from various countries and dependencies. Examples of dependencies are Åland, Alderney and the Faroe Islands. Among the countries, there are their own stamps from Canada, Finland, Iceland and Cuba.

Faroe Stamp 215 Arctic Tern