Q: Which animal has the longest migration route?
Bonus question: Since the [above animal] travels so much, their year is rather unique. What two things does it get in a year, that the rest of us miss out on?
A: The Artic Tern (Sterna paradisaea)
The Arctic Tern’s convoluted migration route lands them the title of Longest Migration in the animal kingdom! Recent studies have placed the average length around 70,900 km (44,300 miles) for birds nesting in Iceland and Greenland and approximately 90,000 km (55,900 miles) for those nesting in the Netherlands! (x, x)
Every year they travel from the Arctic breeding grounds to the Antarctic, and back again.This means that they get two summers a year! The Northern hemisphere summer is spent at the Arctic breeding grounds, and they winter during the Southern hemisphere summer at sea, just North of the Antarctic ice!
Because they get two summers per year, Arctic Terns also receive more daylight than any other animal on Earth!
- Breeding grounds (red) during the Northern Summer, wintering grounds (blue) in the Southern Summer, and migration routes (green). (Wiki Creative Commons)
If all that wasn’t impressive enough, just remember that Arctic Terns can live approximately 34 years. So if they average 70,900 km each year, that adds up to a whopping 2.4 million km in their lifetime. That’s equivalent to 60 trips around the world or 3 trips to the moon and back! (x)