Migratory Birds and Flyways - Europe and Central Asia


Migratory birds are some of the most inspiring impressive groups of birds, not only because of the spectacular views they offer as they move across the sky, but also bacuse of the incredolous distances they cover during their voyages.

Migratory birds are marking the seasons as they leave their breeding areas before food gets scarce only to land on another continent to build a new life. When we enjoy the presence and behavior of these migratory birds we hope and even assume that they will return each year. Unfortunately many migratory species and especially the long-distance migrants, which migrate between Eurasia and Africa, are declining in numbers. The migration chain (fly-way) a species follows is vulnerable and only as strong as its weakest link. Man-made changes at breeding sites, stop-over and wintering sites are an important reason why many species are  declines. The conservation and science teams at BirdLife and together with our Partners are trying to identify, tackle or mitigate these changes. We hope to protect all migratory birds, and their fly-way.

Protecting migratory Birds and Flyways

Migratory birds make use of many different locations to find food, water, breeding, moulting and resting places during their journeys. These places are together called Flyways. There are three major Flyways in the world, where Europe is part of the African-Eurasian Flyway. The best known flyways are from breeding grounds to non-breeding grounds; in Europe mainly from North to South but also from East to West. The migration pattern, how they migrate, differs a lot between species. Some birds, like the Blackcaps, will migrate during the night, swallows only during the day. Cranes will use stopovers, while most Black-tailed Godwits are known to make non-stop flights. These differences make the study of migratory birds very interesting but also implies that solutions might be different for each species.


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Stichting BirdLife Europe gratefully acknowledges financial support from the European Commission. All content and opinions expressed on these pages are solely those of Stichting BirdLife Europe.

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