Migratory Birds: Get to Know Them All

When we refer to migratory birds, we are talking about countless species of birds that move and travel great distances from one place to another. All these birds follow the same pattern, they fly in search of temperate lands, specifically to the north in order to reproduce, and by the tireless search for their food and on their return they try to find the quiet areas of the south to winter.

Keep reading this article and find out what are the migratory birds and everything about them.

The swallow


Its aerodynamic body is adapted for fast and long-haul flights, its narrow wings and tail allow them to maneuver easily, it can make quick turns to chase prey, its color is bluish black and shiny on the head, back, wings and tail, they are red on the forehead and neck and yellowish white on the chest and belly.

This species of bird stays for a certain time in regions with low temperatures in Alaska and northern Canada and warm areas such as central Mexico, Western Europe, North Africa or East Asia. In most of these areas of the northern hemisphere it lays its eggs and has its young, it stops to winter in the southern hemisphere, from Costa Rica or the Antilles ending in Patagonian areas or Tierra del Fuego and Falkland Islands, among others.


This bird breeds only in humid areas of Argentina, in the rest of the world it is only a non-breeding visitor. This bird builds its nest with mud and bushes, attached to wood and walls. When it finds its nest, it can rebuild it or make a new one if it prefers.

The swallow and her young

The eggs are about 14 mm long, yellowish in color with small brownish spots. The female remains in the nest and the males leave in search of food. When the young are old enough, the mother teaches them to fly. This bird has a great defense instinct, being the cat its most frequent enemy, when one besieges it in its nest, it flaps its wings and opens its beak threateningly to save its young, when the situation is very threatening and dangerous, it gathers with other companions and together they scare the enemy away.


Regarding their diet, it is based especially on a variety of flying insects, not including those with poisonous stingers as is the case with some species of wasps. They have a particular way of getting their food, gliding at a small distance from the ground or water, thus catching their prey and eating it in flight.

Something very curious about these birds is that they do not stop their flight to drink and eat, they do it just touching the water, and they can even feed their young while flying.


If you have wondered when do swallows migrate? you should know that they are tireless travelers. These migratory birds make two trips a year, one in autumn in search of more favorable climates and more abundant food, and another in spring to return to their breeding grounds, which is why the swallow is considered the species that travels the longest distances in its migration. The swallow migration goes from the North Pole to the South Pole and in their annual trips they travel about 71 thousand kilometers, which is equivalent to three round trips to the moon. The most incredible thing of all is that each trip is made at a speed of 100 km per hour, however these birds do not travel directly to the south, but make several stops before reaching their destination.

On the way they stop for almost a month offshore in the northern Atlantic Ocean, approximately 1000 km north of the Azores Islands, west of Portugal. They do this because these are very productive waters, where it is easier for them to find food, since it is more difficult to find food in the waters they will find immediately afterwards. After these stops, the terns will continue their long journey south, along the northwest coast of Africa.

These beautiful birds leave the northern winter to spend it in different places of the Antarctic waters and the most curious thing is that when they have to return home to their breeding place, they do not choose the shortest way but fly tracing a huge S in the Atlantic Ocean, something that is much more time consuming than if they did it in a straight line.

Canadian Duck

This is one of the types of migratory birds , it is native to North America, and well known for its incredible migrations in the Alaskan sky in the fall season.

From northern Canada to the Mexican coast of Baja California Sur, it arrives in the winter season. The ducks, like the whales, travel a distance of about 10 kilometers, this bird comes to the mangrove area to feed and then return to reproduce.

This is a small species within the group of geese and ducks, this group is called Anatide, the duck compared to other geese is small, is characterized mainly by its ring on the neck, hence its common name white-necked duck, is a species that can swim, and for feeding uses different techniques such as diving, can also eat on the surface.


Adult ducks can measure 40 to 60 centimeters, with a wingspan of 70 to 80 centimeters, and weigh between 500 grams to 1 kilo. It has a plumage that may vary during the year due to a natural molting process, keeping only the white feathers of the lower parts. Its tail is long, narrow and pointed, and has a grayish beak with a pinkish stripe in the center.

The female has a brownish-colored plumage on top and the tail is a bit short and pointed. In the winter, summer and autumn they usually have variations in the color of their plumage.


This species likes to nest in open vegetation or plains with nearby lakes and mudflats and builds its nest with leaves, grasses, branches and feathers of the female. In the nesting process it becomes a bit aggressive, this behavior is due to its instinct to defend its space. It is said that when she bonds with her mate, she does so for life.

Power supply

This migratory bird usually feeds specifically on seeds, shoots and rootlets of aquatic plants, its diet also consists of insects, small invertebrates, aquatic organisms such as crustaceans, mollusks, and small fish. This kind of bird usually stays in small groups of the same species, in pairs or alone. In search of food, it has the ability to dive into deep waters.


Regarding the duck migration , it is important to know that the white-necked duck is a migratory species, which performs its migration flights starting from its breeding area in northern Alaska, and ends in its wintering territory in mudflats and other wetlands in the Northwest. For climatic reasons the duck is constantly changing its residence and migration sites, due to the route it generally travels, which begins in northern Alaska.

In these areas you can see migratory birds such as the cormorant, the diving duck, the curlew, the coot, the white heron and the gray heron. Some of these species have become stationary birds, but most of them retain their migratory instinct. The flight of these birds is strong, and they are capable of flying long distances, always maintaining a constantly changing V-shaped flight pattern in order to maintain a forward position.

European Turtle Dove

The European Turtle Dove is one of the species of migratory birds belonging to the family Columbidae, and inhabits most of Europe and Western Asia, occupying open vegetation. It makes seasonal migrations. It is known as one of the migratory birds in Spain.


The crane is recognized by its particular size and the lack of feathers on its head. These birds are long-distance migrants. The common crane is identified because its neck and legs are considerably long, its wings can measure 100 to 130 cm in length and its straight wings 180 to 240 cm, and it can weigh up to 6 kilos.

The crane

A large part of its plumage is gray, its back and obispillo have brownish colors, and with lighter shades on the chest and wings. On its head and neck it has black and white lateral stripes with a red dock. It can be distinguished from other birds of the same species by the colors on the head. The pairs are similar, but the young cranes have their feathers with ocher tones, and have no feathers on the head, tail and its pylorus, this lacks color.


According to their habitat, cranes vary their nesting area. They prefer large areas for nest building. Both sexes select a quiet place, preferably in vegetation near ponds or streams, where the female builds her nest with leaves and large stems, guaranteeing its use for several years.

The structure of the nest depends on the area of distribution, for example the nests of arctic birds are small, but in Sweden the nests can measure approximately 90 cm in diameter. The clutch consists of only two eggs and sometimes three to four. They make a clutch only once a year, between the months of May and July, with the particularity that if they lose one they can try to make it again in one or two weeks. The incubation of the eggs lasts about a month and is done only by the female; however, on very few occasions the male does it as well.

The first chick is raised by the father and the second by the mother, even though they are newly hatched. The chicks develop at great speed and acquire the ability to fly after nine weeks. Adults molt while tending to their young, and lose their ability to fly for approximately five to six weeks, as do the chicks. Cranes reach sexual maturity from 3 to 6 years of age.

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