'Jet Fighter' Bird Sets New Record After Flying Non-Stop From Alaska To New Zealand
The bar-tailed godwit has the same aerodynamic build as a jet-fighter, according to experts, and it put this to good use on its 11-day trip from south west Alaska to Auckland in New Zealand last month.
The bird flew at speeds of up to 55mph and has set a new record for avian non-stop flight, with an estimated flight time of around 224 hours.
The male bird, who is known as 4BBRW, had a satellite tag on his lower back so scientists could track his progress, the Guardian reports.
Revealing how the bird managed to pull off such an impressive feat, Dr Jesse Conklin, from the Global Flyway Network, told the Guardian: "They have an incredibly efficient fuel-to-energy rate.
"They have a lot of things going for them. They are designed like a jet fighter. Long, pointed wings and a really sleek design which gives them a lot of aerodynamic potential."
Our friend 4BBRW was one of four to leave together, setting off from Alaska where they'd been living off worms and clams for a couple of months. A true athlete's diet.
The birds need so much energy for their epic journeys that they can double in size.
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However, to ensure they're light enough to fly their internal organs shrink, which is a handy little feature.
However, scientists still don't know how the birds are able to navigate on such long-distance journeys.
Dr Conklin added: "They seem to have some capability of knowing where they are on the globe. We can't really explain it but they seem to have an onboard map."
The birds are not believed to sleep during the journey as they need to keep flapping their wings.
They are expected to start the return leg of their journey in March, flying to the Yellow Sea where they will spend around one month, before heading back to Alaska.
Dr Conklin explained that other birds have been recorded making flights of a similar length - around 10,000km (6,214m) - but added that most birds don't need to.
She said: "So it is not necessarily that this is the only bird capable of it.
"But it is the only bird that needs to do it."
The previous record for the longest avian non-stop flight was 11,680km (7,258m), recorded in 2007.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock