2014 World Migratory Bird Day

Event date: 
2014-05-11 (All day) to 2014-05-12 (All day)



Introduction and Background


2014 World Migratory Birds celebration's Bird of the year: Curlew Sandpiper (Caldris ferruginea)

World Migratory Bird Day is an annual, global initiative aimed at celebrating migrating birds and promoting their conservation worldwide. The awareness raising event was initiated in 2006 and is celebrated on the second week of May each year. It will be celebrated on the weekend 10 – 11 May 2014. The celebration of migratory birds is marked by public events such as bird festivals, educational programmes and bird-watching excursions.

Theme and messages

This year’s theme for World Migratory Bird Day is Tourism and Migratory Birds.  With the theme “Destination Flyways: Migratory Birds and Tourism”, World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) 2014 will highlight the links between migratory bird conservation, local community development and wildlife watching tourism around the world.Every year thousands of birds migrate to South Africa to enjoy the spring and summer months. World Migratory Bird Day is celebrated when the birds leave South Africa’s cold winters in search of warmer locations.

The theme is also closely linked to ideals of the Green Economy. Migratory birds fly across the globe creating a spectacular view for bird-watchers and nature enthusiasts.

Properly managed, popular bird-related tourism activities such as bird watching or bird photography can serve as the foundation for a mutually beneficial relationship between people and migratory birds.


Migratory Birds in South Africa


    Research by National Geographic reveals that up to 4.5 billion birds, representing around 185 species, fly from Europe and Asia in the north to southern Africa and back every year.

    Birds that migrate to South Africa:

    • Greater Striped Swallow
    • Amur Falcon
    • White-rumped Swift
    • White Stork
    • Pygmy Kingfisher
    • Yellow-billed Kite
    • Lesser Kestrel
    • Honey Buzzard
    • Woodland Kingfisher
    • Red-chested Cuckoo
    • European Bee-eater

    Threats to migrating birds

    Pollution: Heavy pollution will reduce available food supplies and suitable habitat, making it more difficult for birds to complete their migration successfully.

    Habitat Destruction: Destroying forests, cutting down trees and building close to or on a wetland destroys habitats for birds. 


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