Migratory Birds and Flyways of Pakistan – Location, Seasons

migratory birds are important for ecology


Pakistan has wondrous landscape beauty, waterways, and natural resources which attract migratory birds. The country provides breeding sites to many species of migratory birds.

Check out 15 Beautiful Birds That You Must See (Pictures)


This term is defined as the birds traveling long distances from one location to another location at regular intervals. There are number of bird species that migrate. Migration of birds is also described as regular seasonal movement between wintering and breeding grounds of south and north flyways.


Flyways are defined as flight pathways that are taken by migratory birds while moving between their overwintering quarters and breeding grounds. These flyways could include distance covered over oceans or continents, etc.


Pakistan is included in the list of countries that are covered by the Central Asian Flyway. Other terms are Central Asian-South Asian Flyway and Central Asian-Indian Flyway. This flyway covers the huge Eurasian continental areas between the Indian Ocean, Arctic Ocean, and islands linked with these oceans.

The flyway in Pakistan is also known as Green Routes or Indus Flyway Zone.

There are seven flyways around the globe that are used by migratory birds and the Indus flyway zone is one of them. Migratory birds use this flyway to avoid harsh weather conditions and sometimes for feeding and breeding reasons.

Check out Impact of Human Activities on Margalla Hills National Park


Migratory birds of Pakistan include ducks, cranes, geese, flamingos, swans, flacons, and waders.

Common species of migratory birds in Pakistan include gulls, ducks-mallards, plovers, stints, snipes, cormorant, northern shoveler, common teal, common pochards, cranes, skuas and jaegers, storks, etc.


Migratory birds fly from China and Russia due to extreme cold weather and cover 4,500 kilometers distance of north by using the Indus flyway to reach Pakistan. These migratory birds stop at wetlands and water bodies present in southern Pakistan.

Migratory birds usually move from Siberia, over Afghanistan, and finally into Pakistan during the winter season. They arrive at the end of August and leave in February.


Rawal Lake is the main site used to receive flocks of migratory birds. The green routes of migratory birds in Pakistan are described as follows.

  • Temporary Stay: Coastal areas such as thar, Rann of Kutch and Thatta
  • Midway: Migratory birds move from temporary sites to other lakes
  • Breeding Sites: Hadbero, Keenjhar, Haleji, and Thattha lakes
  • Habitat for Migratory Birds: Many bird species stay at Hamal, Drigh, and Langh lakes for feeding and breeding purposes.


There is a considerable decline in the number of migratory bird species in Pakistan. The reasons are natural and anthropogenic activities. Natural causes include less rainfall and less water in water bodies or destruction of mangrove [Also check out: Mangroves of Pakistan – Types, Importance, and Environmental degradation]. Anthropogenic causes include saltwater intrusion, netting, habitat loss due to land-use changes such as changing land to agriculture, illegal hunting of migratory birds, etc.

Hunting of migratory birds is allowed at certain sites of Pakistan. However, there are certain places where this act is prohibited. The increasing activities of illegal and unchecked hunting across habitats of migratory birds are distressing the population of migratory bird species.

Illegal hunting and netting may lead to the extinction of some migratory bird species. You may like to read Hunting and Poaching of Wildlife – Causes, Effects, and Solutions


Pakistan hosts a number of migratory birds that migrate from the coldest places such as Serbia to Pakistan during the winter season for feeding and nesting. Migratory birds are important for the ecology and tourism industry. There are many reasons due to which the population of migratory birds that used to move towards Pakistan has declined over time. Human activities are the main reason. Nonetheless hunting migratory birds and games are leading factors. Illegal hunting and netting play a major role in decreasing the population of migratory bird species.

Also, check out Endemic or Native Bird Species of Pakistan

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