A small starling can fly nonstop for three days, crossing the Atlantic during the migration season.
Birds fly nonstop across the Atlantic
This bird, scientifically known as Setophaga striata, is small in size and weighs only around 12 grams. They typically migrate from New England to South America each fall.
The team of experts from the University of Guelph (Canada) and the Vermont Research Center (United States) use a coin-size tracker, weighing approximately 0.5 grams, to tie 40 birds and track the flights. “When we access the tracker, we see them flying straight ahead, crossing the Atlantic for a distance of about 2,270 to 2,770 km, continuously for about 2 to 3 days,” said Bill DeLuca, member of the research team.
It is a journey from New England and eastern Canada to Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Greater Antilles, before heading north to Venezuela with Colombia. With the distance above, they identified this as the longest nonstop flight over the ocean on record so far.
According to the IB Times, these birds often accumulate fat before flight in order to provide energy in continuous flight. Songbirds are generally believed to choose the route to migrate over land due to the lower risk.
The characterization of species like Setophaga striata has important implications for their protection. It is one of the most common warblers in North America, Deluca says, but it is experiencing the fastest decline in numbers.