MASTERS OF MIGRATION

A close-up look at the variety of birds that face being killed or captured as they follow their instincts to move with the seasons.

Northern bald ibis

Geronticus eremita
Wingspan: 4 feet
Migrates as far as 1,800 miles

A few hundred survive in the wild around the Mediterranean. Hunters have shot a third of those that researchers are trying to reintroduce to Italy.

Critically endangered

MASTERS OF MIGRATION

A close-up look at the variety of birds that face being killed or captured as they follow their instincts to move with the seasons.

Red-backed shrike

Lanius collurio
Length: 7 inches
Migrates as far as 6,800 miles

Abundant overall yet now rare in Great Britain, in part because its patterned eggs were so sought by collectors.

Least concern

MASTERS OF MIGRATION

A close-up look at the variety of birds that face being killed or captured as they follow their instincts to move with the seasons.

Hoopoe

Upupa epops
Length: 11 inches
Migrates as far as 3,000 miles

Named for the sound of its song, it heralds spring in southern Europe and is the national bird of Israel.

Least concern

MASTERS OF MIGRATION

A close-up look at the variety of birds that face being killed or captured as they follow their instincts to move with the seasons.

Red-breasted goose

Branta ruficollis
Length: 22 inches
Migrates as far as 3,500 miles

Illegally shot as it flies from breeding grounds on Russia’s Arctic tundra to its winter home on the western Black Sea coast.

Endangered

MASTERS OF MIGRATION

A close-up look at the variety of birds that face being killed or captured as they follow their instincts to move with the seasons.

Saker falcon

Falco cherrug
Wingspan: 3.5 to 4 feet
Migrates as far as 2,500 miles

One of the rarest raptors, it’s captured for use as a hunter in the sport of falconry in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Endangered

MASTERS OF MIGRATION

A close-up look at the variety of birds that face being killed or captured as they follow their instincts to move with the seasons.

Ortolan bunting

Emberiza hortulana
Length: 6.3 inches
Migrates as far as 3,600 miles

A French delicacy, ortolans—now illegal to catch or sell—are netted, fattened up, drowned in brandy, then roasted.

Least concern

Click or Tap
FERNANDO G. BAPTISTA, NGM STAFF; FANNA GEBREYESUS
SOURCES: PETER LACK, BRITISH TRUST FOR ORNITHOLOGY; SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION,
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY, DIVISION OF BIRDS