There’s something about the “little known fact” that seems to spark a child-like curiosity in each of us. Paging through “The Guinness Book of World Records” or an old almanac eats time almost as fast as falling down a rabbit hole during a mind-numbing web-crawl. For example, did you know that the Cuban bee hummingbird (Mellisuga helenae) at 7 cm (2.75”) and 1.6 g (0.056 oz) is the smallest bird, while the fastest swimmer is the gentoo penguin, Pygoscelis papua, which can swim up to 40 km/hr ( 25mph).
The record for long-distance migrations belong to the diminutive Arctic tern, Sterna paradiseaea. The ultimate “snowbird,” the Arctic tern will fly up to 90,000 km/year (56,000 miles) a year as it alternates between its winter and summer habitats. This slender pelagic species spends its summer months breeding in Arctic only to fly south and overwinter in Antarctica annually. Feeding predominately on small fish like herring and sandlances, Arctic terns will also eat insects and berries throughout their northern breeding range. Living for up to 30 years, Arctic terns will often return to their natal colony when searching for a mate and establishing a nesting territory.
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