The Longest, Most Incredible Migrations In The Animal Kingdom

Even though animals don’t have a map or GPS, many of them manage to travel thousands of miles along the same path every year. Some insects, mammals, fish, and even plankton migrate based on the moon, weather, magnetic field, or memory. Many of them manage to travel much farther than most humans can.

Some birds fly from north to south poles, while a species of shark can swim for 100 days without eating. One microscopic animal swims thousands of feet every day. Learn about the most fascinating and impressive animal migrations in the world.

Arctic Terns Literally Circle The Globe

A 15-inch-long (30 cm) bird journeys farther than any other animal in the world. Every year, arctic terns fly from the Arctic Circle to Antarctica and back again: over 44,000 miles (71000 km) round-trip. Since they fly from summer in the Northern Hemisphere to summer in the Southern Hemisphere, they see more daylight than any other creature on Earth.

An Arctic Tern is hovering over the nesting colony in southeast Iceland
Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images
Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

Researchers have noted that arctic terns live for around 30 years, meaning that they fly over 1.5 million miles (2.4 million km) throughout their lifetime. That’s equal to three round-trips to the moon.