Longest non-stop migration by a bird
Who
Bar-tailed godwit, Limosa lapponica baueri
What
12,200 kilometre(s)
Where
New Zealand ()
When

The longest recorded migration by a bird, without stopping for food or rest, is around 12,200 km (7,580 miles) by a satellite-tagged, male bar-tailed godwit (Limosa lapponica baueri) flying directly across the Pacific Ocean from Alaska, USA, to New Zealand. It departed from mudflats in Alaska on 16 September 2020 and arrived 11 days later at the Firth of Thames, a bay not far from Auckland. The bird was nicknamed "4BBRW" after the blue, blue, red and white rings around its leg. According to satellite data, 4BBRW reached speeds of 88.5 km/h (55 mph) during his epic flight. The news was announced by the Global Flyway Network, a group of scientists studying extreme long-distance migrations by shorebirds.


The bird's point-to-point distance as recorded by satellite was 12,854 km (7,987 miles), although scientists factored in rounding errors and reduced this to approximately 12,200 km. The overall flight time was an estimated 224 hours.

Bar-tailed godwits feed for two months in Alaska (where the species has its summer breeding grounds) before the flight to New Zealand; in this time, males may double in size. They are able to shrink the size of their internal organs in flight, however, allowing them to lighten their load.