Migratory Birds vs Resident Birds
As the title sounds, this article would be full with a list of names of bird species, but it would not because, migratory and resident birds are two extremely important and equally interesting ecological niches. As they can fly through the air, there is no barrier for them to conquer any place on the Earth. Migratory birds have proven their abilities to travel through the world. On the other hand, resident birds have been able to survive without roaming throughout the endless world. Both of them have been able to survive but differently. These are the differences between them, and those are important to figure out. This article aims to discuss those important differences in brief.
Migration is an adaptation of many insect eating birds to find more food abundant areas during food scarce winters. They fly towards warmer areas of the world during cold winters and forage in the food abundant tropics or sub tropics. Usually, the migratory birds have a limited range of food items, and mostly insectivorous. Nevertheless, they also like to feed on fish and other animal matter. Since all these food sources become scarce during winter season, they have to go down the latitudes to forage successfully. Food being the primary factor for them to leave their homelands, and among other reasons extreme cold is prominent. During migration, they fly between their breeding grounds and feeding grounds. One single journey requires a great courage and physical strength, and the inadequately fit animals will die during the migratory journey, and that will ensure the best of the genes are selected to go into the next progeny. Therefore, the evolutionary relationship of bird migration describes that migratory birds have a strong gene pool. In addition, the migratory bird species are lightweight, strong, and agile animals so that they can fly long distances. Arctic tern is the classic example of migratory birds, as each of them fly more than 70,000 kilometres a year.
Resident birds do not fly over long distances, and they have been able to survive any climatic season without spending energy to go around the world for food. One of the most important characteristics of a resident bird is that, they are more tolerant of many environmental conditions. One good example is their ability to change the diet according to the availability. They can adapt to eat whatever is available during a particular time or geographical area. For an example, certain swan species do not migrate as they become omnivorous during winters but predominantly carnivorous during other seasons. Usually, resident birds are territorial and have a comparatively larger body size. Sometimes the flight feathers are not prominent. Resident birds are classic examples for adaptability to the situation without risking anything including energy as well.
What is the difference between Migratory and Resident Birds?
· The adaptability to change food preferences according to the availability is higher among resident birds, while it is lower in migratory birds.
· Body weights are higher in resident birds compared to migratory birds.
· Physical strength is much higher in migratory species compared to residential species.
· Feeding grounds and breeding grounds are different from each other for the migratory species, while resident birds have both those grounds in the same area.
· Resident or non-migratory birds show higher territoriality than migratory birds.
· Migratory birds can fly long distances, while resident bird species do not fly over long distances.
All these differences between migratory and resident birds are under usual circumstances only. However, there are always exceptions in the fascinating world of animals.