East Atlantic Flyway

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The East Atlantic Flyway is a migration route used by about 90 million birds annually, passing from their breeding areas in the United States, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Siberia and northern Europe to wintering areas in western Europe and on to southern Africa.[1][2] It is one of the eight major flyways used by waders and shorebirds.[3] The migrants follow a great circle route, which is shorter although more challenging.[4] When avoiding the barriers created by the Sahara Desert and Atlas Mountains, European honey buzzards were found to overcompensate for the winds they expected to encounter, and take a longer route than was necessary.[5]

Wetlands International has identified key sites on the flyway in the project Wings Over Wetlands.[6]

Important key sites on the flyway include:

The flyway attracted attention in the 2000s when birds using the route were found to have been carrying H5n1 (bird flu).[7]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Carrell, Severin (2003-10-12). "Naturalists set up 'air traffic control' network to save birds". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on October 25, 2012. Retrieved 2008-12-21.
  2. ^ Gerard Boere; Colin A. Galbraith; David Stroud; L. K. Bridge (2006). Waterbirds Around the World. The Stationery Office. ISBN 978-0-11-497333-9.
  3. ^ "Waterbirds around the World" (PDF). Joint Nature Conservation Committee. Retrieved 2008-12-21.
  4. ^ Wehner, Rudiger (2001-01-12). "Bird Navigation—Computing Orthodromes" (PDF). Science. 291 (5502): 264–265. doi:10.1126/science.1058147. PMID 11253217. S2CID 128509600.
  5. ^ Vansteelant, Wouter M.G.; Shamoun-Baranes, Judy; van Manen, Willem; van Diermen, Jan; Bouten, Willem (2017). "Seasonal detours by soaring migrants shaped by wind regimes along the East Atlantic Flyway". Journal of Animal Ecology. 86 (2): 179–191. doi:10.1111/1365-2656.12593. PMID 27757959.
  6. ^ "Report on the Exchange Programme Planning Workshop". Wetlands International. Retrieved 2009-01-11.
  7. ^ Gray, Richard (2006-02-19). "UK experts try to plot flight path for bird flu". The Scotsman. Edinburgh. Retrieved 2008-12-21.