Animal Quiz: How Much Do You Know about Migration?

Animal Quiz: How Much Do You Know about Migration?

Michele Berger
Published: 11/16/2010

Monarch butterfly (Image: U.S. Fish & Wildlife) 

How much do you know about animal migration? Scroll past the image for the answers.
 
1. Birds migrating between North and South America typically follow flyways. How many of these corridors cross North America? (Bonus if you know what path each covers.)
a. 1
b. 2
c. 3
d. 4
 
2. True or False: Because of its size, the ruby-throated hummingbird cannot fly nonstop over the Gulf of Mexico while heading to its migration destination. Instead it must make several pit stops along the way.
 
3. Why do plains zebras, as Burchell’s zebras are often called, migrate 150 miles every year away from Botswana’s water-filled Okavango Delta to the Makgadikgadi Salt Pan, a place that offers little for these animals to drink?
a. To escape predators
b. To lick the salt there and absorb the minerals it provides
c. For exercise
d. All of the above
 
4. Which of these animals migrate the farthest?
a. Red crabs
b. Mali elephants
c. Monarch butterflies
d. Army ants
 
5. True or False: The gray whale’s migration is one of the longest round-trip journeys of any mammal?


Monarch butterflies (Image: U.S. Fish & Wildlife)
 
Answers

1. How many known flyways exist?
D, 4. Picture North America divided into four columns and you’ll get an image of these corridors, which include (from left to right) the Pacific, Central, Mississippi, and Atlantic flyways. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services uses data provided by each flyway’s council to track migrating birds.
 
2. True or False: Because of its size, the ruby-throated hummingbird cannot fly nonstop over the Gulf of Mexico.
False. These tiny birds actually can cross the entire Gulf of Mexico in a single flight, according to Cornell’s All About Birds. The journey can take up to 20 hours—an awfully long flight for a flier that weighs less than an ounce.
 
3. Why do Burchell’s zebras migrate to the Makgadikgadi Salt Pan?
B, to lick the salt there and absorb the minerals it provides. According to National Geographic's Great Migrations video about them, these zebras leave the delta and its plentiful water supply to get to the salt the Makgadikgadi offers. As the narrator puts it, “They hungrily nibble and lip at the mineral deposits of this ancient lake, feeding a life or death craving…They’ve traded the heaven of a lush delta for one of the largest salt licks in the world.”

4. Which of these animals migrate the farthest?  
C, monarch butterflies. These small black-and-orange flecks travel thousands of miles in their round-trip migration. Mali elephants move 300 miles, red crabs travel 2.5 miles, and army ants migrate up to 365 feet. For more about monarch butterfly migration, check out our pullout
 

5. True or False: The gray whale’s migration is one of the longest round-trip journeys of any mammal?
True. These whales travel between 10,000 and 14,000 miles round trip each year, according to the American Cetacean Society. The mammals spend between two and three months going each direction.