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Bar-tailed godwit (1 Viewer)

YVO4

Member
Hi all,

No doubt you guys know all about this: a bar-tailed godwit tracked on an 11-day 12000 km non-stop flight from Alaska to New Zealand.

Aside of the mind-bogglingness of it all, how does it do it? I know albatrosses and terns are capable of similar journeys but those are open ocean birds, capable of eating on the wing. I suspect clams and mudworms are pretty thin on the ground (in the water?) in the middle of the Pacific. And if it doesn't eat, how does it get water? Boggled minds want to know.
 

Andrea Collins

Beside the Duddon Estuary, Cumbria
England
Bar-tailed Godwits massively increase their fat reserves prior to departure on migration, to the extent that in some individuals fat comprises more than half their total body mass. Their heart and flight muscles increase in size whilst their digestive organs, which are not needed on the flight, shrink. Water can be metabolised from their fat reserves. At the end of their migration they effectively have to rebuild their digestive organs so they can feed properly.
 

YVO4

Member
Thanks andreadawn, that's very cool. It does make you wonder "Why?" though. Why those destinations? Why fly straight across? Surely it would be simpler, safer, and evolutionarily less challenging to coastal-hop to wherever you're going.
 

Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
Thanks andreadawn, that's very cool. It does make you wonder "Why?" though. Why those destinations? Why fly straight across? Surely it would be simpler, safer, and evolutionarily less challenging to coastal-hop to wherever you're going.
No Peregrine Falcons waiting in the middle of the ocean. There are at each and every coastal stopover, though. :t:
 

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