Did you know the bar-tailed godwit stuffs itself with food until it adds enough fat to double its weight?
The bar-tailed godwit, which is related to sandpipers, curlews, and snipe, feeds on insects, mollusks, and bristle-worms to fatten itself up for its phenomenal annual migration, growing from one pound to two pounds. Why do I call the migration phenomenal? Because these birds migrate from Alaska to New Zealand without stopping once to rest or to eat. The journey is over 7,000 miles (11,265 km), and the godwit must fly about 10 days and nights to get there.
No rest, no food. For 10 days of constant flying, even through storms and wind. This is the longest non-stop flight of any land birds in the world (some sea birds, like albatrosses, can stay in the air longer).
As a godwit prepares for its incredible 10-day journey, its body goes through a shape-shifting transition. Its gizzard, kidneys, and liver shrink in size to reduce weight, and its pectoral muscles grow to increase strength and endurance. The only excess baggage is the fat the bird will burn during the flight.
- Bar-tailed godwit - DepositPhotos
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