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8 Incredible Animal Migrations (Slideshow)

8 Incredible Animal Migrations (Slideshow)


For most of us, the biggest migration we make to fill our most basic needs is a trip to the grocery store. Animals, however, are willing to go the distance, sometimes crossing oceans and continents in search of the perfect meal, climate, or place to lay their eggs. Click through to check out some of the most amazing animal migrations on the planet.

See Also: 5 of the World’s Most Dangerous Roads


1. Flamingos

Is there a lake underneath all of those birds? There must be! The flamingos that make their home on the lakes of Kenya’s Rift Valley are in search of the green algae that gives them their signature color.

Also Check Out: 8 of the Quietest Places on Earth (Slideshow)


2. African Elephants

The most traveled elephants on the planet make their home in the extreme conditions of the Malian desert. Water, as you might expect, is in short supply, so the elephants travel up to 300 miles a year to find it.

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3. Orange-Bellied Parrot

Most parrots don’t do any significant migration — why would they, when the climates they live in are fabulous year round? There are exactly two exceptions, however: the orange-billed parrot, shown above, and its fellow Aussie, the Swift Parrot. These spectacular birds breed on the island of Tasmania, and make their way up Australia’s mainland.

So where is the picture of these colorful critters migrating? Well, there aren’t any: these are some of the most endangered birds in Australia, if not the world. Their quirky migration habit has severely diminished their populations.

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4. Leatherback Sea Turtles

Of all the animals on the planet, leatherback sea turtles are some of the most prolific migrators. The Pacific subpopulation of these  international jet-setters lay their eggs on the beaches of Indonesia, but travel all the way to the coasts of California to eat! The Atlantic Leatherbacks are no slouches either, often traveling from the  South America all the way across the ocean to Africa.



5. Sockeye Salmon

Bristol Bay, Alaska is home to the largest wild salmon run in the world, sometimes numbering up to a whopping 40 million fish. Sockeyes usually spend their early lives in lakes and migrate through streams on their way to their final destination: the ocean.

See Also: 5 of the World’s Most Dangerous Roads


6. Wildebeests

No other land mammal travels more than the Serengeti wildebeest. The famed African antelope clocks in anywhere between 500 and 1,000 miles annually, primarily  Tanzania’s famed Serengeti. They occasionally group with zebras and gazelles in their quest for prime grass to graze and water to drink.

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7. Monarch Butterflies

They may be small, but monarch butterflies migrate large distances. The butterflies spend their summers in the Northern half of the United States, as well as Canada, and, as it gets cooler, migrate south to Mexico. They’ve even been known to cross the Atlantic Ocean, occasionally showing up in the United Kingdom!

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8. Sooty Shearwaters

In terms of sheer distance, Sooty Shearwaters take the cake. These seabirds have been documented traveling nearly 40,000 miles, taking giant figure eights all around the Pacific ocean. They lay their eggs in New Zealand, and hit the skies, traveling back and forth to such far-away places as Alaska, Japan, and Mexico.

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Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Katie Waldeck

Katie is a freelance writer focused on pets, food and women’s issues. A Chicago native and longtime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Katie now lives in Oakland, California.


+ add your own
12:54PM PDT on Apr 9, 2014

Wow! Such energy!

12:08AM PDT on Mar 22, 2014

excellent article

1:40AM PDT on Mar 19, 2014

thanx for sharing

8:59PM PDT on Mar 15, 2014

Animals are quite fascinating, especially their migrations. Sadly, many are facing threats to their survival such as the Monarch Butterfly. So many people are used to seeing these colourful butterflies and hope that they will survive their present difficulties.

12:35PM PDT on Mar 10, 2014

Wow, nice!!

11:44AM PDT on Mar 9, 2014

Except for the shearwaters, most of these other migrators aren't even in the race for the longest or most. There are birds that never sleep and go 7,500 miles at one time, and geese that commute up to 9,000 miles each year.

3:14AM PST on Mar 7, 2014

thanx for sharing

9:40PM PST on Feb 23, 2014

Thank You.

9:48PM PST on Feb 18, 2014

Good article, thanks

12:27AM PST on Feb 17, 2014


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