Migration is one of the most fascinating aspects of the avian world. Billions of birds migrate vast distances across the globe twice a year. Many species migrate along broadly similar, well-established routes known as flyways. Zambia belongs to the East Atlantic Flyway (EAFI) which was established by the BirdLife partnership to facilitate the monitoring of birds and sites, identify conservation priorities, and increase conservation capacity along the Flyway. There are six EAFI flagship species and Zambia is a stopover site to five which have been spotted within BirdWatch Zambia’s current core project areas. These are, The European roller (Coracias garrulus), Eurasian curlew (Numenius arquata), Curlew sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea), Lesser kestrel (Falco naumanni) and the Black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa). Only the European turtle dove (Streptopelia turtur) has not been recorded in Zambia.
When migrating, bird species require a rich abundant supply of food at regular intervals. However, such a situation does not always exist throughout the year in any given region. As a result, birds have evolved a highly efficient method of travelling over long distances quickly. Bird migration is the seasonal movement of birds from one location to another over long or short distances in search of favourable resources such as food and breeding ground. irds migrate around the globe at least twice a year. Migratory birds connect ecosystems around the world by playing an important role in restoring natural environments in which they rely for breeding and resting, such as wetlands. A variety of birds make journeys from one location to another. They do not choose their path at random but follow a set of routes that include suitable habitats. The migratory routes taken by birds are known as flyways, and these routes include the breeding, wintering, and staging areas required to complete the entire annual cycle. Flyways most often include several countries that the birds must cross during their migrations, and a transboundary perspective implies that conservation efforts must extend beyond national borders and be carried out at an international level through close cooperation among states. The East Atlantic flyway is a migration route used by approximately 90 million birds passing through from their breeding grounds each year. It is one of the eight major flyways used by waders and shorebirds.
Migratory birds are vital to the environment because they transport seeds from one location to another. Unfortunately, many of the world’s migratory birds are declining. Many characteristics of migrants render them particularly vulnerable to a variety of threats. These birds encounter a variety of threats throughout their journey, threats faced include poaching, habitat degradation in stopover sites and poisoning among others. Other threats are collisions with the infrastructure in urban areas, and collision with power lines which are also a common cause of mortality.