Migratory birds

Celebrated on May 5, 2017, the World Migratory Bird Day

These birds are adapted to fast and long flights, moving up to thousands of kilometers, seasonally and cyclically or from one region to another searching better habitats and better ecological conditions (favorable climate) to reproduce. Migratory birds migrate from their original region, when the conditions become unfavorable, to places where they can obtain more food and a better habitat in order to continue their biological processes, such as growth and feathering.

Normally, migratory birds return to their region of origin when the breeding season is near, in order to start a new cycle. These birds have the capacity to adapt their breeding season according to the climate patterns.

Some migratory birds can perform resistance flights of over 10,000 km and at very high altitudes, such as Limosa lapponica and Sterna paradisaea. Some of these birds can even migrate from a continent to another. For example, some of the birds can start their migration in Europe and end it in Antarctic, passing through Africa on the way, some other can even travel from America to Africa.

These migration birds contribute significantly to ecosystem maintenance, as they help in the resources flow, biomass transference and nutrients transportation. There are some species that have a big cultural importance for humans.


There are about 1451 migratory bird species described around the world, 522 of them are waterfowl that travel long itineraries,that connect Africa, Europe and Asia. About 91% of the migratory species live in inadequate areas at least part of its annual cycle. Nowadays, the migratory bird population tend to decrease. This is mainly caused by the negative impacts caused by habitat destruction and climate change. Due to the global temperatures rise, the migrations to reach the favorable sites become longer, which harms their populations.Migratory species often depend on a set of interconnected habitats that allow landings to feed during their journey.

In Mozambique, are observed annually at least 7 migratory bird species, namely: Pelecanus onocrotalus; Pelecanus ruescens; Ciconia episcopus; Anastomus lamelligerus; Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis; Mycteria ibis and Sterna caspia. Places such as:Gorongosa National Park, Quirimbas Archipelago, Lake Niassa, Zambezi Delta, Inhambane, Bazaruto and Maputo Reserve are the main arrival sites for migratory birds to Mozambique, migrating from Europe and Asia. Some of these sites are scale points for birds migrating to South Africa.

With the main objective of increase human awareness about the importance of protecting migratory birds and their habitats, was established by the “Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA)” and with the “Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS)” that the 10th of May is the World Migratory Bird Day.


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