10 Birds That Travel in Flocks (Comprehensive List)

Migration from one locale to another is a yearly occurrence undertaken by many species of birds.

Some birds can travel thousands of miles to designated winter locations or to look for food. 

Bird species such as the eagle engage in solitary migration and only meet up at roosting sites after the long travel.

Other birds however are usually seen travelling in flocks from one location to another.

These birds travel together for protection and social momentum. 

Birds That Travel in Flocks

1. Starlings 

Starlings are songbirds that have an all black plumage with a metallic sheen which glows iridescent from a distance.

They are medium sized and have a short tail. Starlings undertake migration journeys from eastern Europe to the East coast of England every year.

These birds travel in flocks that can go as high as 100,000 at once. With the arrival of winter the European starlings travel down to the UK to escape the harsh weather conditions.

Once it’s spring the migrant birds pack up and return back to their homes to begin mating and breeding.

15 Amazing Facts about Birds | bird...
15 Amazing Facts about Birds | bird facts

Apart from periods they are travelling, starlings also gather in flocks called ‘murmurations’ where they perform acrobatic displays before they return to their roosts. 

2. American White Pelican

The American white pelican is a beautiful striking bird with it’s all white plumage and long yellow beaks.

The White pelican is one of the largest birds in the world with a wingspan measuring up to 9 feet.

Despite its large size, the bird is a graceful flier and flocks are usually seen soaring together during migration.

The American White Pelican is a migratory bird that travels in flocks from it’s northern origins to southern coastlands in Mexico, California, Texas and Central America.

They travel during the day and stop to rest for the night and feed on fishes from lakes around them before getting to their stop. 

Related: Here is an article I wrote on birds that nest in houses

3. Snow Goose

Snow geese are beautiful large waterfowl of the geese family. The large white birds can be found in the Arctic and Subarctic during summer.

They have their breeding season in the Arctic after which they migrate South to inland states such as Pennsylvania.

They spend their winter in waters around the Atlantic coast where it’s not as cold as the frozen arctic region. Once it’s fall they begin to travel down south to escape the hard weather. 

Snow geese can travel in flocks of about 2,000 and they are usually seen flyin in a V formation or as a multitude of birds. 

4. American Robins

American robins migrate from their northern homes to the south during fall and one of the major reasons for their yearly migration is their fondness for fruits.

During winter, the ground freezes over and they are not able to get enough fruits and insect food. 

When migration, robins move in loose flocks numbering thousands of birds and can fly for hours sometimes averaging 100 to 200 miles each day.

By traveling in flocks the robins are able to protect themselves from predators as they all watch out and one bird can immediately alert the rest if a bird of prey is spotted.

While migrating about 25% of robins die from harsh weather conditions and this mainly affects fledglings.

5. Swallows

Swallows are small sized birds notable for their glossy-blue backs and tail streamers. Swallows are highly social birds and travel in flocks when migrating.

Different species of swallows are found all around the world from the UK, US, Europe and Africa.

In the Uk, they travel from Africa and start getting to the Uk in April with most of the flocks already settled and breeding by July.

Swallows are daylight migrators and are low fliers. They can cover as much as 200 miles per day while they roost in huge flocks by night.

They start migrating back to their homes by September with the fledglings going first. 

Also check out this article I wrote on birds that soar high in the sky

6. Double Crested Cormorant

The double-crested cormorant is a waterfowl of the Cormorant family.

It is native to North America and can be found in aquatic habitats such as coasts, bays, lakes and the likes. 

The double crested cormorant is migratory in nature and usually travels in flocks by day following the waterline.

They roost at night by lakesides where they can easily catch fish for dinner. 

The double crested is found exclusively along the Gulf Coast and winters on Northern Coasts towards Alaska and the South of New England. 

7. Spoon-billed Sandpipers

The spoon-billed sandpiper is a species of sandpipers found in coastal tundra in the Asian continent.

This species is regarded as one of the most endangered birds in the world.

Spoon-billed sandpipers migrate through Russia, South Korea and China to their main wintering grounds in the south eastern parts of Asia.

Spoon billed sandpipers always travel in flocks however their population has gone into decline and they are very much in critical condition. 

These days they winter at coastal areas in Bangladesh and Myanmar since their wintering grounds have been taken over by human invaders. 

8. Baltimore Orioles

The Baltimore oriole is a medium distance migrant bird that is found in North and Central America.

They have a migration table as they spend various seasons of the year in different locations. 

Orioles start the year in the tropics and in early March to May they arrive in flocks to areas in North America such as Louisiana.

They breed all through till October when they return to the tropics. 

By November most of the population has arrived back to the warm tropics and stragglers who are still caught in the colder northern American regions can perish from the cold.

9. Mourning Doves

The mourning dove is a North American bird with a plump head and tapered tail feathers.

It is called mourning dove because of its distinct call in the morning that sounds mournful and lamenting.

These birds are widely distributed all over North America and spend their winter seasons in the south such as Mexico and Central America. 

The doves fly in large flocks to the south once it’s fall around September and by early March/April they return to the north to breed and mate.

Not all species of mourning doves are migratory however the ones who do travel in large flocks. 

10. Crows

Crows are social birds, they roost, flock and nest together. Some crows do not migrate while some engage in partial migration.

A team of researchers who attached satellite transmitters to captured rows before releasing them. 

They discovered that crows migrate not only to escape bad weather but also for breeding. 

When on the move, crows can travel thousands of miles tightly packed together till they reach their nightly roosts.

This helps to give them protection from predators as they hold the belief that there is safety in numbers.

Conclusion 

A lot of birds travel in flocks during migration and this helps to serve as a form of protection from predators.

These highlighted birds spend a considerable amount of their time every year travelling to their wintering grounds or returning to their home sites. 

Most of them are usually forced out of their homes due to increasing harsh weather conditions such as the oncoming of winter and the scarcity of food.

Some of these birds might look fragile but they undertake journeys that last miles per days and only stop to rest.

Written by Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books

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