A Moment of Science

The Longest Migration On Record: Sooty Shearwaters

You probably haven't heard of the Sooty Shearwater. This creature can travel 40,000 miles in just 200 days, which is the longest migration we have on record.

Sooty Shearwaters flying over the water's surface.

Photo: pablo_caceres_c's (Flickr)

Sooty Shearwaters can travel up to 565 miles in a day.

The Sooty Shearwater is a gray colored bird, with a 16 inch long body, and a wingspan of around three and a half feet.

Jet Lag Anyone?

Researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, were able to tag some Shearwaters, and monitor their migration patterns electronically.

They found the birds flew from New Zealand, to Antarctica, to Chile, to Japan, to the Bering Sea, to California, and then finally back to New Zealand. They traveled up to 565 miles in an day!

Record Breaking

The birds make an enormous figure eight shape over the Pacific, tapping into the dense ocean feeding grounds all over as they go. In 200 days, the shearwaters were found to have covered 40,000 miles. That’s the longest migration on record!

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