Bird migration is one of the great wonders of the natural world. A huge variety of birds make the journey: the tiny Rufous Hummingbird migrates up and down the North American continent, while the Arctic Tern, BirdLife’s emblem, migrates from pole to pole. In fact, roughly one in five bird species migrate.
Birds know no borders
Migration is a huge feat of endurance requiring great strength and stamina. However, today birds face additional threats caused by human activity. Hungry, exhausted birds may arrive at a stopover site, only to find that it has been destroyed by farming or urbanisation. Every year, millions of birds are illegally killed by hunters, or collide with man-made structures such as powerlines. And climate change is causing habitats to shift or disappear.
When travelling between their breeding and wintering grounds, birds don’t choose their paths at random. They follow set routes that include suitable habitats where they can stop to rest and refuel along the way. Many different species share broadly similar routes, which have been loosely split into eight major flyways – think of them as bird super-highways across the sky. BirdLife links together conservation organisations in countries along the length of the flyways, combining resources and coordinating action to protect birds on every step of their route. Our Flyways Programme focuses on protecting birds across all major global flyways.
Americas Flyway: three flyways that connect North America with Caribbean and Central and South America
African-Eurasian Flyway: three flyways that connect Europe and northern Asia with Mediterranean, Middle East, and Africa
Central Asian Flyway: connects northern Asia with southern Asia and Middle East
East Asian-Australasian Flyway: connects north-east Asia with south-east Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
Our network of over 2 million birders, scientists and local volunteers helps us to track, follow, analyse, conserve and understand every bird species in the world.
Select a flyway on our interactive tool and follow migrating birds to see
The Partnership in action.
How we protect birds everywhere they they fly, feed, rest and nest
Supported by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), BirdLife and our local partners are guiding local conservation projects in the Mediterranean – working closely with local communities and civil society organisations to protect unique and threatened species and habitats in this fabulously biodiverse and culturally rich region.
In recent years, vulture populations across Africa have declined catastrophically. Seven out of the 11 African vulture species are now at risk of extinction. Over the last 50 years we have seen vulture population declines of 80-97%, including a 92% decline in five African vulture species.
BirdLife protects birds by protecting the places they live and travel through. For almost 50 years, the BirdLife Partnership has worked together to identify and protect the places of greatest significance for the conservation of the world’s birds and the wildlife they need to thrive. We call them Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs).
It’s the middle of winter. Bird migration is at its peak. You’re hiking deep in the Mediterranean shrubland, on the lookout for illegal traps, snares and nets. If this kind of adventure appeals to you, BirdLife’s Italian partner, LIPU, organises camps that do this every year – and they get results. This is their story.
Hope you joined the flock at the 2023 Global Birdfair! Hosted at the Rutland Showground, UK, from the 14-16 July, this years event brought together an array of people from the wildlife conservation community. From world-leading conservationists and adventurers to ground-breaking wildlife filmmakers and authors, the event is not to be missed for anyone with a love of the natural world! So if you missed it, plan on next year!
The wetlands of Kampong Trach are one of Cambodia’s most important sites for wintering Sarus Cranes, however decades of agricultural encroachment and pollution have left it highly threatened. BirdLife partner NatureLife Cambodia have been working closely with farmers to turn things around in a project that has shown promising early results for this enigmatic species.
In a remarkable act of conservation, empowerment and belonging, Guyra Paraguay, has transferred 548 hectares of land to the Indigenous Community of Tapy Kanguekua – Arroyo Morotí, belonging to the Mbya Guaraní people in the Itapúa Department of Paraguay.