Flyways and Migratory Birds of India

Kannan Vaithianathan


Flyways, in simple terms, can be called ‘routes’ – migratoryroutes used by a large population of different species of birds covering a large geographic area. Birds that migrate from the same geographic region often follow broadly well-defined routes known as migratory flyways. 

There are eight recognized shorebird flyways around the world. The Asia-Pacific region, as defined by the main migratory routes of waterbirds, is made up of three shorebird flyways – theCentral Asian Flyway, the East Asian-Australasian Flyway and the Western (or Central) Pacific Flyway – crossing 57 countries and territories in the region. 

The East Asian-Australasian Flyway is the best studied and stretches from Siberia and Alaska southwards through east and south-east Asia to Australia and New Zealand and supports the migration of over five million migratory shorebirds every year. The Central Asian flyway spans about 30 countries from the Arctic to the Indian Ocean. But these flyways are just generalizations and bird populations have been known not to strictly follow them. During migration, birds depend on strategically located staging areas where they stop to rest and “refuel”, building up fat deposits before continuing their migration…read more on NOPR