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Tracks of Icelandic Eurasian Whimbrel reveals non-stop flights over the Atlantic ocean

Though retrieving of four of ten tagged Icelandic whimbrels fitted with geolocators, Jose Alves and their team investigated their non-stop flights between Iceland and West Africa and how wind support encountered en route affects flight speed. Tracks revealed that these birds could fly non-stop in two long-distance flights achieving very fast speeds (18–24 m s−1 depending of wind conditions) and flying over open waters, both in Spring and Autumn migration, even when an a mostly overland route of similar distance is available.

Article “Very rapid long-distance sea crossing by a migratory bird”, published in Scientific Reports: http://www.nature.com/articles/srep38154

Photo: An Icelandic Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) © Tómas Gunnarsson

Icelandic whimbrel carrying a geolocator attached to a leg flag. © Verónica Mendez

Icelandic whimbrel carrying a geolocator attached to a leg flag. © Verónica Mendez